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5 months ago

Donald Trump ordered to pay $83.3 million to rape accuser in defamation case

New York: Donald Trump was handed a stinging defeat on Friday by a Manhattan jury that ordered him to pay $83.3 million to the writer E. Jean Carroll, who said he destroyed her reputation as a trustworthy journalist by denying he raped her.

 

Jurors needed less than three hours to reach a verdict in Manhattan federal court following a five-day trial. The sum that the former US president was ordered to pay far exceeded the minimum $10 million Carroll had sought. Trump plans to appeal.

 

Carroll’s case has become an issue in Trump’s campaign to retake the White House in the November US election. Trump is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic President Joe Biden, who beat him in 2020.

 

Trump attended most of the trial, but was not in the courtroom for the verdict.

 

“Our Legal System is out of control, and being used as a Political Weapon,” Trump posted on social media. “THIS IS NOT AMERICA!”

 

Carroll, 80, left the courthouse with her arms around two of her lawyers.

 

“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,” Carroll said in a statement.

 

The former Elle magazine advice columnist sued Trump in November 2019 over his denials five months earlier that he had raped her in the mid-1990s in a Bergdorf Goodman department store dressing room in Manhattan.

 

 

Carroll testified that Trump’s denials “shattered” her reputation as a respected journalist who told the truth.

 

The jury of seven men and two women, whose members were kept anonymous, awarded Carroll $18.3 million in compensatory damages, including $11 million for harm to her reputation. Carroll also was awarded $65 million in punitive damages, which she said was needed to stop Trump from continuing to defame her.

 

Trump, 77, maintained that he had never heard of Carroll, and that she made up her story to boost sales of her memoir.

 

His lawyers said Carroll was hungry for fame and enjoyed the attention from supporters for speaking out against her nemesis.

 

In May 2023, another jury ordered Trump to pay Carroll $5 million over a similar October 2022 denial, finding that he had defamed and sexually abused Carroll.

 

Trump is appealing that decision, and set aside $5.55 million with the Manhattan court during that process. Both appeals could take years.

 

US District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who oversaw both trials, said the earlier verdict applied to the second trial, including that Trump had forced his fingers into Carroll’s vagina. All jurors needed to decide was how much Trump should pay.

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