NEW YORK — A Manhattan jury Tuesday found Donald J. Trump liable for battery and defamation in the civil trial of E. Jean Carroll, finding he sexually abused her but not reaching a definitive conclusion on the allegation of rape.
The jury awarded Carroll damages in the case of $5 million.
The verdict, delivered after the jury was deliberating for only a few hours, comes more than five years after Carroll first levied sexual assault allegations against then-President Trump, who responded by calling her a liar from the White House and proclaiming she was not his “type.”
Trump didn’t attend or testify at his trial. His lawyers didn’t put on a defense case, relying instead on trying to discredit Carroll’s account by aggressively cross-examining her and her witnesses.
The verdict adds to Trump’s mounting legal woes. He was recently indicted in the Stormy Daniels hush money probe and is facing investigations over election issues in Georgia and classified documents found at his home in Florida.
Carroll spent almost three days on the witness stand, where she emotionally testified about being attacked in a changing room inside Bergdorf Goodman on Fifth Ave between the fall of 1995 and spring of 1996. Carroll’s current lawsuit was the first filed under the Adult Survivors Act, historic legislation lifting the statute of limitations to bring sex assault claims for one year.
She told the jury Trump recognized her when they passed each other in the store’s revolving doors and asked her to help him pick out a present for an unknown woman. After milling around the store, Carroll said Trump suggested they visit the sixth-floor lingerie department, where he insisted Carroll try on a bodysuit.
Carroll, a daytime TV host who wrote a popular advice column for Elle magazine about love and sex, said she thought the happenstance encounter was a great New York moment that would make a good story. She wanted to make Trump try on the lingerie over his pants.
The 79-year-old said the situation turned dark once they got to the dressing rooms and Trump closed the door, pushing her against a wall and kissing her without consent. She described trying to throw “cold water” on the situation by nervously laughing. But she said an unrelenting Trump became increasingly violent, molesting her with his hand before pulling down her tights and raping her.
“I was almost too frightened to think if I was afraid or not. I was stamping. My whole reason for being alive in that moment was to get out of that room,” Carroll testified on April 26. “His fingers went into my vagina, which was extremely painful, extremely painful. It was a horrible feeling because he curved, he put his hand inside of me and curved his finger. As I’m sitting here today, I can still feel it. … Then he inserted his penis.”
In his cross-examination, Trump’s lawyer Joe Tacopina hammered Carroll on why she didn’t scream during the alleged assault or call the police.
Raising her voice as she fought back tears, Carroll told Tacopina his questions underscored why many women don’t report their abusers when they are a victim of rape or sexual assault.
“Women who come forward — one of the reasons they don’t come forward is because they’re always asked, ‘Why didn’t you scream?’ Some women scream, some women don’t,” Carroll told Tacopina. “It keeps women silent.”
Raising her voice as she fought back tears, Carroll told Tacopina, “I’m telling you, he raped me whether I screamed or not!”
Carroll’s second claim, which accused Trump of defamation, was based on an Oct. 12, 2022, Truth Social post in which Trump said he didn’t know Carroll and that her allegations were “a hoax and a lie.” Trump alleged Carroll had changed her story from beginning to end in promoting her book in a CNN interview, which Carroll said caused her emotional and professional
He appears to be an idiot. Do you really want to give him power?
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