Aiexpress – A federal court jury has ordered Donald Trump to pay over $83 million in damages to E Jean Carroll for his defamatory remarks about the former Elle magazine writer. This verdict is significant as it marks the first federal court ruling against the former president, who is currently campaigning for his return to the White House.
The jury reached a verdict on Friday after engaging in intense deliberation for approximately three hours. This followed a highly contentious two-week civil trial that took place in a federal courtroom in Manhattan. Throughout the trial, Mr. Trump’s attorneys vigorously contested Ms. Carroll’s case, while the former president himself repeatedly launched personal attacks and potentially defamatory remarks against her during press conferences and numerous posts on his Truth Social platform.
US district judge Lewis Kaplan has issued a ruling that prevents Mr. Trump and his attorneys from challenging the facts of the case. According to the ruling, it is established that Mr. Trump sexually abused the plaintiff in a Manhattan department store during the 1990s and made defamatory statements denying the assault.
As the verdict was being read on Friday, Ms. Carroll tightly gripped the hand of her attorney, Shawn Crowley. When the damages were announced, a smile adorned Ms. Carroll’s face as she turned towards the jury, expressing her gratitude.
Emotions ran high as the jury delivered a unanimous decision, leaving Ms. Carroll and her legal team overwhelmed. Once Judge Kaplan dismissed the court, tears flowed as Ms. Carroll, Ms. Crowley, and attorney Roberta Kaplan embraced each other in a heartfelt moment.
Unfortunately, Mr. Trump was not present at the courthouse as he had left moments earlier.
After the verdict, Mr. Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, expressed her gratitude to the court staff and promptly left the courtroom alongside the rest of the legal team. Outside, she criticized the jury, referring to them as “ridiculous”, a term that Mr. Trump himself had used earlier.
“He [Mr. Trump] took the stand and followed the rules of this corrupt system that I’ve witnessed. We will appeal right away and dismiss that absurd jury. I want to remind you all of one thing: I will keep fighting alongside President Trump to uphold everyone’s First Amendment right to speak, their right to defend themselves when falsely accused, and their right to proclaim their innocence,” she stated to the gathered press.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Trump abruptly left the courtroom during the middle of Ms. Kaplan’s closing arguments. She pointed out to the jurors that the initial verdict against the former president did not serve as a deterrent against him making potentially defamatory statements again.
She firmly denied the possibility, stating, “No, absolutely not. I wouldn’t even consider it for a single day.”
During her opening arguments, Ms. Kaplan restated the team’s statements and emphasized the need for the jury to consider two key factors. Firstly, they should determine the appropriate amount that Mr. Trump owes for his defamation. Secondly, they should also consider the amount necessary to incentivize him to cease his defamatory actions.
Mr. Trump, known for using his court appearances as a platform to promote his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, portrays himself as a target of an unfounded conspiracy theory suggesting that the justice system is being manipulated against him.
In a video shared on his Truth Social page on Thursday night, he expressed his lack of knowledge about her identity and origins, just before being instructed to pay millions of dollars for making similar remarks against her.
“This is nothing more than yet another scam and a politically motivated witch hunt. We must stand up and fight against these false allegations. Our country cannot afford to descend into this level of disgrace. It’s absolutely disgraceful.”
Throughout the trial, the judge reprimanded Mr. Trump and Ms. Habba multiple times for their disruptive behavior in court and their improper attempts to present evidence.
On Thursday, Mr. Trump took to the witness stand for approximately three minutes, affirming his unwavering support for the statements he made in a previous deposition. He expressed his full confidence in those statements, standing by them with utmost certainty.
Despite Ms. Habba’s efforts, she was unable to persuade the jurors that Ms. Carroll should not be awarded any damages. Ms. Habba argued that Ms. Carroll actively sought the attention and comments made by Mr. Trump, thus negating her entitlement to compensation.
“Unbelievable!” exclaimed Mr. Trump on his Truth Social platform right after the announcement of Friday’s verdict.
“They have stripped away all First Amendment rights, and this is definitely not what America stands for!”
It is anticipated that Mr. Trump will file an appeal.
The decision further adds to the mounting legal troubles faced by Mr. Trump. These include a total of 91 criminal charges across federal and state-level cases. Additionally, there is a high-stakes lawsuit that poses a significant threat to his family business based in New York and his extensive real estate holdings.
After 11 weeks of witness testimony in a civil trial against the Trump Organization, a New York judge is anticipated to deliver a judgment this month. The judgment could result in fines totaling $370 million against him, his adult sons, and chief associates. The lawsuit alleges fraud spanning over a decade.
Ariana Baio reported from the Daniel Patrick Moynihan federal courthouse.