The jury has found former President Donald Trump liable in the lawsuit filed by E. Jean Carroll accusing him of sexually abusing her in the 90s on Tuesday, May 9. The jury did not find him liable for raping her, but they also found him liable for defamation for his statements saying that her accusations were false, per CNN. The jury found that Trump should pay Carroll about $2 million in damages for the battery lawsuit. They also said she should be paid nearly $3 million for defamation, bringing to total to about $5 million.
Carroll initially filed a lawsuit against Trump in 2019 for defamation. After publicly accusing him of raping her, she claimed that Trump’s denial of the allegations was defamation against her. She filed another lawsuit accusing him of sexual battery in 2022, using the Adult Survivors Act, which allows sexual assault victims whose cases may have passed the statute of limitations to file lawsuits. The trial began on April 25. Trump had denied the allegations by the columnist, and he did not appear in court during the trial, and he didn’t testify, but he did record a deposition.
“I filed this lawsuit against Donald Trump to clear my name and to get my life back,” Carroll said in a statement following the favorable outcome of her suit. “Today, the world finally knows the truth. This victory is not just for me but for every woman who has suffered because she was not believed.” Her lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, also celebrated the victory in a May 9 statement to NBC News. “No one is above the law, not even a former President of the United States. We are so thrilled that the jury agreed,” Kaplan said.
After the verdict came in, the former president continued to speak out against Carroll on his Truth Social platform. “I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHO THIS WOMAN IS. THIS VERDICT IS A DISGRACE – A CONTINUATION OF THE GREATEST WITCH HUNT OF ALL TIME,’ he wrote. Trump’s lawyer Joe Tacopina also said that he plans to appeal the decision while speaking to reporters after the trial.
While some states use the terms “rape” and “sexual assault” interchangeably, there are others that make distinctions between the two. While they are similar charges, there are some differences, according to Shouse California Law Group. “Rape generally refers to the offense of having forcible sexual intercourse with another person without the consent of the ‘victim,'” the law firm explains. Sexual assault is often defined as “1. intentionally making physical contact with the intimate body parts of another person, and 2. doing so without that person’s consent.”
The acclaimed journalist first went public with her allegations against Trump in a June 2019 New York Magazine article, where she claimed that Trump had assaulted her in either late 1995 or early 1996 in a dressing room of Bergdorf Goodman. Trump denied the allegations and claimed that he’d never met Carroll, but a photo of the two talking at a 1987 party was later made public. Trump has consistently denied the allegations.
While Trump did not take the stand in the trial, Carroll on the other hand did. At the start of her testimony, she once again stood by her claim that the former president raped her. “I’m here because Donald Trump raped me, and when I wrote about it he said it didn’t happen. He lied and shattered my reputation, and I’m here to try to get my life back,” she said, per The Independent.
The lawsuit from Carroll is not the only legal battle that Trump has been entangled in. He was arrested in New York at the beginning of April and charged with 34 counts of falsifying documents, including ones relating to the alleged hush money payment made to adult entertainer Stormy Daniels. Trump pleaded not guilty to the charges, and he has denied having had a relationship with Daniels. A trial for the New York charges is expected to be scheduled for January 2024, according to CBS News.
Trump is also the subject of a grand jury investigation in Georgia for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election in the Peach State. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has said she plans to announce whether the former president will be prosecuted over the summer, via CBS News.