A federal jury in New York found former President Donald Trump liable for battery and defamation in a civil trial stemming from allegations he raped the writer E. Jean Carroll in a department store dressing room in the mid-1990s.
She was awarded $5 million total in damages.
The case stems from allegations by the writer E. Jean Carroll that he raped her in a department store dressing room in the mid-1990s.
The jury, made up of six men and three women, got the case earlier Tuesday and deliberated for less than three hours.
During the eight-day trial, attorneys for Carroll pressed a case to the jury laying out how her allegations fit a pattern, or "modus operandi," for Trump. In addition to witnesses who said Carroll confided in them after the incident, the jury heard from two other women who described Trump suddenly turning casual confrontations into sexual misconduct. They also watched the "Access Hollywood" video clip in which Trump could be heard crudely describing grabbing women by their genitals.
Attorneys for Trump did not call any witnesses and he did not testify in the trial. They argued Carroll and the 10 other witnesses her team called were conspiring to tarnish a former president out of hatred for him.
Tuesday morning, Trump posted on Truth Social ahead of the verdict, saying he was "not allowed to speak or defend myself, even as hard nosed reporters scream questions about this case at me."
Trump was permitted to testify in his own defense, but chose not to.
Carroll accused Trump of assaulting and raping her in a Bergdorf Goodman department store dressing room in New York City tin the mid-1990s, and then defaming her after she published her account in 2019. Trump, who has claimed he never met Carroll and "she's not my type," forcefully denied her accusations.
His statements about Carroll were core to her defamation claim. The jury was shown a late-1980s photo that appears to depict Trump and Carroll in conversation with their then-spouses. They also watched the moment in Trump's videotaped deposition when he was shown the photo and incorrectly identified Carroll as his ex-wife Marla Maples. Defense attorney Roberta Kaplan argued it was proof Carroll was indeed Trump's "type."
After Trump was told of mistaking the women during his deposition, he said the photo was "blurry."
Carroll testified during the trial, saying she bumped into Trump while exiting the store one evening. She said Trump recognized her, saying "Hey, you're that advice lady," referring to a magazine column she wrote for nearly three decades. She said she replied, "Hey, you're that real estate tycoon."
Carroll, then 52, said Trump, then 50, wanted advice on a gift purchase for a girl. She described pleasant, "joshing" banter as they perused the store, even after he suggested they go to the lingerie department.
Carroll, who wrote for "Saturday Night Live" in the 1980s, said the encounter seemed like a comedic scene, until things took a dark turn when they went to a dressing room.
Carroll said Trump pushed her against the wall, her head slamming against it. She said Trump forcefully penetrated her with his hand, causing severe pain, and then penetrated her with his penis.
Carroll said she managed to force her knee between them, pushing him away before leaving as fast as she could.
She said she told two other people about the alleged attack soon after, her friends Lisa Birnbach and Carol Martin. Both were called to testify during the trial, delivering testimony that largely matched Carroll's recollection.
Trump attorney Joe Tacopina showed jurors emails and text messages between Carroll, Martin and Birnbach that appeared to show their animosity to Trump, who was then the president, as the defense tried to portray a politically motivated effort by the trio to use Carroll's story to tarnish him.
Tacopina laid out the case as one in which Trump had "no story to tell," because he said Carroll's claim was entirely made up. In her closing arguments, Kaplan said the jury had to decide who was telling the truth: "the nonstop liar" Trump, or 11 people who testified under oath on Carroll's behalf.
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