E Jean Carroll: Jury finds Trump sexually abused writer in NY department store
In a civil lawsuit, a jury found former President Donald Trump sexually abused an editor of a magazine in a New York Department Store in the 1990s.
But Mr. Trump has been found not to be liable for the rape of E Jean Carroll at Bergdorf Goodman’s dressing room.
The jury found that Mr. Trump was also liable for defamation because he called the writer’s allegations “a hoax” and “a lie”.
This is the first time that Mr. Trump was found legally liable for a sexual attack.
The Manhattan jury ordered Mr. Trump to pay Ms. Trump about $5m (4m PS) in damages.
After less than three hours of deliberations, the jury of six men and three women reached their decision.
“Today, the world finally knows the truth,” Ms. Carroll said in a written statement following the verdict. “This victory is not just for me but for every woman who has suffered because she was not believed.”
Mr. Trump’s lawyer said the former president plans to appeal against the decision.
Because the trial was in civil court rather than criminal, Mr. Trump will not be required to register as a sex offender.
The former president denied Ms. Carroll’s accusations and did not attend the two-week civil trial in the Manhattan federal court.
Ms. Carroll, 79, held the hands of both her lawyers as the verdict was read in court and smiled as she was awarded damages by the jury.
Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Joe Tacopina, shook her hand as the trial ended, telling her: “Congratulations and good luck.”
Roberta Kaplan, a lawyer for the plaintiff said in a statement: “This is a victory not only for E Jean Carroll, but for democracy itself, and for all survivors everywhere.”
After the verdict, Mr. Trump, 76, posted on his social media platform Truth Social in all capital letters: “I have absolutely no idea who this woman is.
“This verdict is a disgrace – a continuation of the greatest witch hunt of all time!”
The standard of proof in civil cases is lower than in criminal cases, meaning that jurors were only required to find that it was more likely than not that Mr. Trump assaulted Ms. Carroll.
While the jury found Mr. Trump liable for sexual battery and defamation of Ms. Carroll, they did not find Mr. Trump liable for raping her. To do so, the jury would have needed to have been convinced that Mr. Trump had engaged in non-consensual sexual intercourse with Ms. Carroll.
The trial saw a tense cross-examination between Ms. Carroll and Mr. Trump’s attorneys.
Her legal team called 11 witnesses to corroborate her claims that Mr. Trump had assaulted her in the lingerie department of the luxury store in 1995 or 1996.
They included two women who also say they were sexually assaulted by Mr. Trump decades ago. One woman told jurors that Mr. Trump groped her during a flight in the 1970s. Another woman said that Mr. Trump had forcibly kissed her while she was interviewing him for an article she was writing in 2005.
Two long-time friends of Ms. Carroll testified that she told them about the encounter shortly after it occurred.
On the stand, Ms. Carroll described in graphic detail what she alleges happened in the store and the trauma she has endured.
“I’m here because Donald Trump raped me and when I wrote about it, he lied and said it didn’t happen,” she told the court.
Mr. Trump called no witnesses and appeared only in a video of a deposition that was played for jurors in which he denied rape.
“It’s the most ridiculous, disgusting story,” Mr. Trump said in the footage. “It’s just made up.”
Ms. Carroll’s lawsuit also argued that Mr. Trump had defamed her in an October 2022 post on his social media site in which he called her claims a “complete con job” and “a Hoax and a lie”.
Her legal team argued Mr. Trump had acted as a “witness against himself” during the deposition when he doubled down on comments he made in a 2005 recording.
In the audio, known as the Access Hollywood tape and leaked in 2016, Mr. Trump suggested women let stars “do anything” to them, including grabbing their genitals.
That’s what he did to Ms Carroll, her lawyer argued.
In the recorded video deposition, Mr. Trump at one point confused Ms. Carroll for his ex-wife, Marla Maples, which Ms. Carroll’s lawyers argued undermined his claim that she was “not his type”.
Mr. Tacopina sought to cast doubt on Ms. Carroll’s story, which he called “a work of fiction”.
He questioned why Ms. Carroll could not specify the date of the attack, arguing that it stripped Mr. Trump of the chance to provide an alibi.
“With no date, no month, no year, you can’t present an alibi, you can’t call witnesses,” Mr Tacopina said. “They want you to hate him enough to ignore the facts.”
Mr. Tacopina also pressed her on why she did not report a crime to the police or scream while it occurred.
The former Elle magazine columnist was able to bring the civil case against Mr. Trump after New York passed the Adult Survivors Act in 2022.
The law allowed a one-year period for victims to file sexual assault lawsuits in the state involving claims that would have normally exceeded statute limitations.