Donald Trump found liable for sexual abuse in E Jean Carroll trial
A jury in New York has found Donald Trump liable for the sexual abuse of writer E Jean Carroll.
Ms Carroll, 79, sued the former president for raping her in a dressing room at the Manhattan department store Bergdorf Goodman in 1996, and then “destroying” her reputation when he claimed she was lying.
The jury didn’t find Mr Trump liable for raping Ms Carroll.
In the courtroom, the clerk read the verdict: “As to battery, did Ms Carroll prove that Mr Trump raped Ms Carroll?” The jury answered “No”.
But the jury did find that Mr Trump more likely than not sexually abused Ms Carroll, and awarded her $2m.
The jury also found Mr Trump liable for wonton disregard, for which Ms Carroll was awarded $20,000, according to Inner City Press.
Mr Trump was also found liable for defamation as the jury found that he made false statements about Ms Carroll.
The jury found that Mr Trump acted with actual malice and that Ms Carroll had been injured, for which she was awarded $1m. For repairing her reputation, Ms Carroll was awarded $1.7m.
In total, Ms Carrol was awarded $5m.
The jury heard graphic testimony from Ms Carroll and two other women Jessica Leeds and Natasha Stoynoff who accused Mr Trump of sexual assault.
Mr Trump’s “grab em by the pussy” comments in the Access Hollywood tape amounted to a “confession”, Ms Carroll’s attorney Roberta Kaplan told jurors in closing statements on Monday.
Ms Carroll was “was exactly” Mr Trump's type and had sexually assaulted her in the exact way that he had been caught describing his treatment of women on the infamous recording, Ms Kaplan added.
“In a real sense, Donald Trump is a witness against himself,” she said.
Ms Carroll, a longtime Elle magazine advice columnist, first revealed details of the sexual assault in a book excerpt that ran in New York magazine in June 2019.
Over three days of testimony, Ms Carroll told the jury that she and Mr Trump had engaged in playful banter after a chance encounter at Bergdorf Goodman one evening in the mid-1990s.
But after taking an escalator up to a deserted 6th floor to look for lingerie, Mr Trump led her to a dressing room, pushed her up against a wall and sexually assaulted her.
“It was extremely painful,” Ms Carroll told the jury. “He put his hand inside me and curled his finger. As I sit here today, I can still feel it.”
Ms Carroll added a charge of battery under a recently adopted New York law that allows survivors of sexual abuse to sue their alleged attackers despite the statute of limitations.
She told how the traumatic experience had left her incapable of forming romantic relationships.
The writer said she would be inundated with a “wave of slime” on social media every time Mr Trump commented or posted about her allegations.
As the case was tried in civil court, the jury had to find that Ms Carroll’s attorneys had proved Trump was liable for battery and defamation by a preponderous of evidence.
In a civil trial, battery can be any unlawful touching as the law does not distinguish between degrees of violence.
The jury will determine the amount of punitive and compensatory damages Mr Trump must pay to Ms Carroll.
Leslie Lebowitz, a clinical psychologist, testified that Ms Carroll suffered symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, and had a panic attack after being shown an episode of the Trump-hosted reality show The Apprentice.
Ms Carroll and slept with a loaded gun at her cabin in upstate New York after receiving death threats from Mr Trump’s supporters, Ms Lebowitz testified.
Mr Trump did not testify in the case, but the jury was played his deposition where he confused his second wife Marla Maples for Ms Carroll.