In a groundbreaking legal milestone, an American jury has reached a momentous verdict, unequivocally declaring that former President Donald Trump engaged in $exual abuse against esteemed writer E Jean Carroll during the 1990s, subsequently tarnishing her reputation through defamatory statements.
This decision deals a significant blow to Trump’s legal standing as he contemplates a potential re-election campaign in 2024.
The resounding pronouncement of this verdict occurred in a Manhattan federal court on Tuesday afternoon, following a mere few hours of jury deliberation after a comprehensive seven-day civil trial.
Carroll leveled serious allegations against the ex-president, accusing him of $exually assaulting her within a New York City department store during the mid-1990s. Moreover, she asserted that Trump defamed her character by dismissing her account, documented in her memoir published in 2019, as nothing more than a manipulative fabrication.
While the jury, consisting of nine members, did not find Carroll’s claim of rape substantiated, they did hold Trump accountable for acts of $exual abuse and defamation, as reported by reputable news outlets such as The New York Times and CNN.
Consequently, the former Elle magazine columnist has been awarded approximately $5 million in compensatory and punitive damages. It is noteworthy that, due to the nature of this civil case, Trump does not face criminal penalties.
On Tuesday, Steven Cheung, Trump’s spokesperson, confirmed that the former president intends to challenge the verdict, thereby suspending the obligation to provide the awarded damages while the case undergoes further examination in the court system.
Trump, who did not attend the trial in New York, swiftly responded by releasing a statement on his social media platform, vehemently denying any association with Carroll and characterizing Tuesday’s verdict as a disgrace and a continuation of the greatest witch hunt of all time.
Throughout the trial proceedings, Trump’s legal team refrained from presenting a defense, relying on the hope that the jury would find Carroll’s case unconvincing.
Joe Tacopina, Trump’s lawyer, delivered forceful closing statements, arguing that E Jean Carroll’s actions constituted a severe affront to justice. Tacopina alleged that Carroll had exploited the legal system by advancing baseless claims motivated by personal gain, status, and political interests.
Roberta Kaplan, Carroll’s attorney, countered Tacopina’s assertions on Monday, pointing to a 2005 Access Hollywood video in which Trump made derogatory remarks about women, including the infamous phrase “grab ’em by the p***y.” Kaplan asserted that this recorded evidence corroborated Carroll’s account, as well as the experiences of other women who accused Trump of Sexual assault.
As the verdict was announced on Tuesday, Carroll maintained a composed demeanor, tightly holding the hands of her legal team. Exiting the courthouse alongside Kaplan, she sported a smile, shielded her eyes behind sunglasses, and declined to engage with reporters before entering a waiting vehicle.
The impact of this verdict on Trump’s political prospects remains uncertain, as he presently stands as the leading contender for the Republican nomination in the upcoming 2024 elections.
Charlie Gerow, a GOP strategist from Pennsylvania, shared his perspective with the Reuters news agency, stating, “Those who already oppose Trump will remain steadfast, dedicated Trump supporters will not waver, and the undecided individuals are unlikely to be substantially swayed by this development.”
It is essential to note that Trump faces a multitude of additional legal challenges, including criminal charges in New York related to a hush-money payment made to a pornographic actress in 2016, as well as an ongoing investigation by the Justice Department into allegations of mishandling classified documents during his presidential tenure.