In a significant legal development, a jury has mandated that former President Donald Trump must pay writer E. Jean Carroll $83.3 million for defamatory statements against her, according to reports from multiple sources on Friday.
The verdict follows the jury’s determination that Trump had damaged Carroll’s reputation in response to her allegations of sexual assault in the 1990s. Closing arguments concluded earlier on Friday, leading to the decisive ruling.
The jury’s decision included an award of $18.3 million in compensatory damages and an additional $65 million in punitive damages, resulting in the total sum of $83.3 million, as reported by several outlets.
Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, urged the jury to order Trump to pay a minimum of $24 million in damages. Kaplan emphasized the need for “unusually high” punitive damages to prevent Trump from further defaming Carroll, citing his considerable wealth. Earlier in the trial, she stated that a minimum of $12 million was required to repair her client’s tarnished reputation, a figure endorsed by an expert witness.
Deliberations by the jury began around 1:45 pm EST, according to NBC News.
E. Jean Carroll, in a statement shared with Axios, declared, “This is a great victory for every woman who stands up when she’s been knocked down, and a huge defeat for every bully who has tried to keep a woman down.”
Kaplan asserted that the verdict “proves that the law applies to everyone in our country, even the rich, even the famous, even former presidents.” She commended Carroll for her courage in standing up to Trump.
Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, announced outside the courthouse that they would “immediately appeal” the verdict and dismiss the jury’s decision as “ridiculous.” Trump himself, in a post on Truth Social, called the verdict “absolutely ridiculous” and expressed strong disagreement, vowing to appeal.
The trial, distinct from a previous case where Trump was found liable for sexually abusing Carroll, focused on determining the damages owed for defamation. Trump left the New York federal courtroom briefly during Kaplan’s closing arguments but returned before the defense began its concluding statements.
Habba contended that Carroll lied about the assault for fame, a claim rejected by Presiding Judge Lewis Kaplan. The defense also argued against Trump’s responsibility for the threats and harmful messages received by Carroll after he denied her rape accusations during a televised CNN town hall.
The ongoing legal battles stem from Carroll’s original 2019 defamation lawsuit against Trump, who is a leading contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. While in office, Trump dismissed Carroll’s allegations, asserting that she fabricated the rape accusations for book sales. Carroll filed a second lawsuit in 2022, which concluded last year with a jury finding Trump liable and ordering him to pay $5 million in damages.
Throughout the trial, Trump, positioning himself for a potential 2024 presidential run, has used the courtroom as a platform to criticize the legal proceedings, presenting himself as a victim of unjust actions. Attempts to dismiss or delay the lawsuit based on claims of presidential immunity were rejected by the courts.