Trump ordered to pay $83.3 million to E. Jean Carroll in defamation trial
Driving the news: The verdict came after a jury found he had damaged Carroll's reputation after she accused him of sexually assaulting her in the 1990s.
- Closing arguments in the trial had finished earlier Friday.
- The jury awarded Carroll $18.3 million in compensatory damages and $65 million in punitive damages — bringing the total to $83.3 million, per multiple outlets.
Details: Carroll's attorney, Roberta Kaplan, also asked the jury on Friday to order Trump to pay at least $24 million in damages, according to multiple outlets.
- As for punitive damages, Kaplan told the jury that only "unusually high" damages would prevent Trump from again defaming Carroll, reminding them of his wealth, according to CNN.
- She earlier told the jury that it would take at least $12 million to repair her client's damaged reputation, a figure that was established by an expert witness earlier in the trial.
- The jury began deliberating around 1:45 pm EST, according to NBC News.
What they're saying: "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 shared with Axios on Friday.
- Kaplan said that the verdict "proves that the law applies to everyone in our country, even the rich, even the famous, even former presidents."
- "There is a way to stand up to someone like Donald Trump who cares more about wealth, fame, and power than respecting the law. Standing up to a bully takes courage and bravery; it takes someone like E. Jean Carroll," Kaplan added.
The other side: Alina Habba, Trump's attorney, told reporters outside the courthouse on Friday that they will "immediately appeal" the verdict and "set aside that ridiculous jury."
- "Absolutely ridiculous!" Trump said in a post Friday on Truth Social following the verdict.
- "I fully disagree with both verdicts, and will be appealing this whole Biden Directed Witch Hunt focused on me and the Republican Party."
- "Our Legal System is out of control, and being used as a Political Weapon. They have taken away all First Amendment Rights. THIS IS NOT AMERICA!" Trump added.
In a later post on Truth Social, Trump said: "There is no longer Justice in America. Our Judicial System is Broken and Unfair!"
State of play: A separate jury found Trump liable for sexually abusing Carroll in the 1990s and later defaming her.
- The jury in the current trial was only determining how much in damages the former president will pay her for defamation by denying that established fact.
- The trial was also determining the damages Trump owes after remarks he made about Carroll during a televised CNN town hall last year after he was found liable for sexual abuse and defamation.
Details: Trump left the New York federal courtroom Friday after Kaplan began giving her closing arguments.
- After Trump stormed out, Presiding Judge Lewis Kaplan (no relation to Roberta) briefly interrupted the closing argument and said: "The record will reflect that Mr. Trump just rose and walked out of the courtroom."
- Trump returned to the courtroom before his defense began its closing arguments.
Habba implied in closing that Carroll lied about the assault for fame — a claim Judge Kaplan rejected, again citing the previous trial, according to NBC News.
- She also argued that Trump should not be responsible for the threats and harmful messages Carroll received hours after he initially denied her rape accusations.
- While in the White House, Trump mocked Carroll and claimed that she fabricated her rape accusations against him to boost her book sales.
- She filed a second lawsuit in 2022 against Trump, which ended last year with a jury finding him liable and ordering him to pay Carroll $5 million in damages.
Trump appeared in person in court for several days throughout the trial and briefly testified on Thursday before the defense rested its case.
- Kaplan set restrictions on Trump's testimony, ordering that the he could not argue that he did not sexually abuse or defame Carroll since the previous jury established that he had.
- Kaplan threatened to remove Trump from the courtroom on Jan. 17 for making disruptive remarks during the proceedings.
Zoom out: Trump, who's running for president again, has been using the courtroom for the many legal cases against him as a campaign stop of sorts — lashing out at judges, lambasting prosecutors and casting himself as a victim of illegitimate proceedings.
- He has repeatedly attempted to dismiss or delay the lawsuit at the center of the current trial by citing presidential immunity and filing a counter-lawsuit against Carroll, both of which were rejected by the courts.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional developments.