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Donald Trump must pay E Jean Carroll $83.3m in defamation case | US News


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Donald Trump has been ordered to pay $83.3m (£65.5m) in a defamation case against a woman he was found liable for sexually assaulting – with the former US president branding it all a “witch-hunt”.

The court said Trump should pay $18.3m (£14.4m) in compensation and $65m (£51m) in punitive damages to E Jean Carroll.

Ms Carroll smiled as the verdict was read. Trump had already left the building in his motorcade.

Trump posted from his Truth Social account after the jury’s decision: “Absolutely ridiculous! I fully disagree with both verdicts, and will be appealing this whole Biden Directed Witch Hunt focused on me and the Republican Party.

“Our Legal System is out of control, and being used as a Political Weapon. They have taken away all First Amendment Rights. THIS IS NOT AMERICA!”

Jurors heard closing arguments in the case earlier on Friday, with Ms Carroll’s lawyer telling them that Trump should pay “dearly” for defaming her.

A separate jury ordered Trump to pay Ms Carroll $5m (£3.9m) last year after finding him liable of sexually abusing her in a Bergdorf Goodman department store in New York in the mid-1990s. They also found him liable of defaming her after she wrote about the incident.

The trial that ended today focused only on what damages the former US president would have to pay for defaming her.

The amount is considerably more than the $10m (£7.9m) Ms Carroll had been seeking.

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E Jean Carroll leaves court after hearing verdicts

The former Elle magazine advice columnist accused Trump of destroying her reputation as a trustworthy journalist by accusing her of lying about her rape allegation.

The 80-year-old said Trump’s comments caused her to be subjected to years of continuous attacks, including death threats.

A lawyer for the former president argued Ms Carroll did not deserve any money, claiming she enjoyed the attention and suffered neither professional nor emotional harm after Trump branded her a liar.

No sign Trump will be deterred – even by this huge sum

Make no mistake this is a staggering amount of money.

The breakdown of the whopping $83.3m was detailed in the jury’s verdict form.

E Jean Carroll has been awarded $7.3m in compensatory damages “outside of the reputation repair program” and $11m in compensatory damages for a “reputation repair program only”.

The bulk of the $83.3m comes from the jury’s conclusion that, in defaming her, Mr Trump acted “maliciously, out of hatred, ill will, spite, vindictively, in wonton, reckless or wilful disregard of Ms Carroll’s rights”.

For that, the jury, of seven men and two women, concluded he must pay her $65m in punitive damages.

The total represents more than eight times the figure Ms Carroll had asked for in her initial lawsuit.

As part of the original civil case last May, in which Mr Trump was found liable for the sexual assault of Ms Carroll in a Manhattan department store in the 1990s, a jury awarded her $5m in damages.

The huge sum is an attempt to rein the former president in.

Ms Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, had told the court during proceedings that: “This case is also about punishing Donald Trump… This trial is about getting him to stop once and for all.”

It was a fiery trial, with Mr Trump leaving abruptly on a number of occasions.

On the last day, his lawyer, Alina Habba, tried to introduce new evidence. The judge dismissed it, adding: “Ms Habba, you are on the verge of spending some time in the lock-up, now sit down.”

There’s no sign Donald Trump will be deterred even by this huge sum. He knows his witch-hunt claims resonate deeply with his many supporters.

Across America, we have found his appeal remains strong. And he will expect that donations for him will pour in.

Trump, 77, accused Ms Carroll of making up the encounter to boost sales of her memoir, and has maintained he had never heard of her.

He also attacked Ms Carroll during the trial and on the presidential campaign trial, proclaiming her case a “witch hunt” and a “con job”.

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E. Jean Carroll smiles after the leaving the court building
E Jean Carroll smiles after leaving the court building. Pic: Reuters

Trump had earlier stormed out of the courtroom as Ms Carroll’s lawyer Roberta Kaplan began her closing argument on Friday.

Ms Kaplan told jurors they should punish Trump for persistently lying about her client.

“We all have to follow the law,” Ms Kaplan said. “Donald Trump, however, acts as if these rules and laws just don’t apply to him.”

Trump, who is the clear favourite to be the Republican candidate in the US election later this year, attended the entire trial except for opening statements, which he skipped for a presidential campaign event.

He is seeking to retake the White House in the November election in a likely showdown against Democrat Joe Biden, who beat him in 2020.

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