E. Jean Carroll arrives at Manhattan federal court, Tuesday, May 9, 2023, in New York. A jury in New York City is set to begin deliberations in a civil trial over Carroll’s claims that Donald Trump raped her in a luxury Manhattan department store.(AP Photo / John Minchillo)

E. Jean Carroll arrives at Manhattan federal court, Tuesday, May 9, 2023, in New York. A jury in New York City is set to begin deliberations in a civil trial over Carroll’s claims that Donald Trump raped her in a luxury Manhattan department store.(AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Jury finds Trump liable for sexual abuse, awards accuser $5M

Verdict announced in a federal courtroom in New York City on the first day of jury deliberations.

  • By Larry Neumeister Associated Press
  • Tuesday, May 9, 2023 12:32pm
  • NewsNation-World

NEW YORK — A jury found Donald Trump liable Tuesday for sexually abusing advice columnist E. Jean Carroll in 1996, awarding her $5 million in a judgment that could haunt the former president as he campaigns to regain the White House.

The verdict was announced in a federal courtroom in New York City on the first day of jury deliberations. Jurors rejected Carroll’s claims that she was raped, but found Trump liable for sexually abusing her.

Hours earlier, U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan read instructions on the law to the nine-person jury before the panel began discussing Carroll’s allegations of battery and defamation shortly before noon.

Trump, who did not attend the trial, has insisted he never sexually assaulted Carroll or even knew her.

Kaplan told jurors that the first question on the verdict form was to decide whether they think there is more than a 50% chance that Trump raped Carroll inside a store dressing room. If they answered yes, they would then decide whether compensatory and punitive damages should be awarded.

If they answered no on the rape question, they could then decide if Trump subjected her to lesser forms of assault involving sexual contact without her consent or forcible touching to degrade her or gratify his sexual desire. If they answered yes on either of those questions, they will decide if damages are appropriate.

On defamation claims stemming from a statement Trump made on social media last October, Kaplan said jurors needed to be guided by a higher legal standard — clear and convincing evidence.

He said they would have to agree it was “highly probable” that Trump’s statement was false and was made maliciously with deliberate intent to injure or out of hatred or ill will with reckless disregard for Carroll’s rights.

Meanwhile, Trump posted a new message on social media, complaining that he is now awaiting the jury’s decision “on a False Accusation.” He said he is “not allowed to speak or defend myself, even as hard nosed reporters scream questions about this case at me.”

Trump said he will not speak until after the trial, “but will appeal the Unconstitutional silencing of me … no matter the outcome!”

Trump never attended the trial, which is in its third week, and rejected an invitation to testify, which the judge extended through the weekend even after Trump’s attorney, Joe Tacopina, said Thursday that his client would not testify.

Tacopina told the jury in closing arguments Monday that Carroll’s account is too far fetched to be believed. He said she made it up to fuel sales of a 2019 memoir in which she first publicly revealed her claims and to disparage Trump for political reasons.

Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, cited excerpts from Trump’s October deposition and his notorious comments on a 2005 “Access Hollywood” video in which he said celebrities can grab women between the legs without asking.

She urged jurors to believe her client.

“He didn’t even bother to show up here in person,” Kaplan said. She said much of what he said in his deposition and in public statements “actually supports our side of the case.”

“In a very real sense, Donald Trump is a witness against himself,” she said. “He knows what he did. He knows that he sexually assaulted E. Jean Carroll.”

Carroll, 79, testified that she had a chance encounter with Trump at the Bergdorf Goodman store across the street from Trump Tower. She said it was a lighthearted interaction in which they teased each other about trying on a piece of lingerie before Trump became violent inside a dressing room.

Tacopina told jurors there was no reason to call Trump as a witness when Carroll can’t even recall when her encounter with Trump happened.

He told the jury Carroll made up her claims after hearing about a 2012 “Law and Order” episode in which a woman is raped in the dressing room of the lingerie section of a Bergdorf Goodman store.

“They modeled their secret scheme on an episode of one of the most popular shows on television,” he said of Carroll.

Two of Carroll’s friends testified that she told them about the encounter with Trump shortly after it happened, many years before the “Law and Order” episode aired.

More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of July 6

Here’s what to expect this week.

Residents of Strasbaugh Apartments on Gastineau Avenue and others in the neighborhood wait outside a sealed-off area Sunday morning after a landslide triggered by heavy rain hit the building. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Landslide triggered by heavy rain damages apartment building on Gastineau Avenue

Officials close street as multiple mudslides reported; up to 4” more rain forecast by Monday night.

Shelley McNurney (right) and Tami Hesseltine examine a muticolor storage shelf in the gym of the former Floyd Dryden Middle School on Saturday, where surplus items from the school were being sold to residents and given away to nonprofit entities. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
No more pencils, no more bookshelves: Floyd Dryden works to clear out surplus items large and small

Furniture, microscopes, pianos among gymful of items being given away or sold by shut-down school.

Former President Donald Trump is surrounded by Secret Service agents at a campaign rally in Butler, Pa, on Saturday. Trump was rushed off stage at rally after sounds like shots; the former president was escorted into his motorcade at his rally in Butler, Pa., a rural town about an hour north of Pittsburgh. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)
Trump rally shooting investigated as assassination attempt; gunman identified

One rally attendee and the shooter dead, two other spectators critically injured.

Looking like a gray turtle, an automated mower cuts grass in front of Thunder Mountain Middle School with boxes stacked in a classroom window beyond. (Laurie Craig / Juneau Empire)
Random adventures of robo-mowers…now performing again this summer at Juneau’s schools

Four pillow-sized bots resembling turtles with tiny razor-sharp blades provide class for the grass.

Disney Williams (right) orders coffee from Lorelai Bingham from the Flying Squirrel coffee stand at Juneau International Airport on Thursday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
New coffee stand at airport stirs up heated dispute about having proper authorization to operate

Fans of Flying Squirrel Espresso praise location, hours; officials say FAA violations could be costly.

Nano Brooks and Emily Mesch file for candidacy on Friday at the City and Borough of Juneau Municipal Clerk’s office in City Hall. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)
City and Borough of Juneau regular municipal election candidate filing period opens

So far, most vie for Assembly District 2 seat — mayor, Board of Education, and District 1 also open.

Killah Priest performs at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center in December 2019. (Photo courtesy of Lance Mitchell)
Killah Priest sets new record with Alaskan artists on ‘Killah Borealis’

Wu-Tang Clan rapper seeks to lift Alaskan voices and culture in his return performance to Juneau

Most Read