E. Jean Carroll was awarded $83.3 million by a jury on Friday, marking a significant rebuke to former President Donald Trump for his persistent social media attacks against the advice columnist.
The jury’s decision, combined with a $5 million verdict from a previous case, brings the total amount Trump must pay Carroll to $88.3 million. Trump, expressing strong disagreement, stated that he intends to appeal the decision.
Clutching her lawyers’ hands, Carroll, 80, smiled as the anonymous jury delivered the verdict. Later, she issued a statement through a publicist, describing the outcome as a victory for women standing up against bullies.
Trump, present at the trial, left during closing arguments by Carroll’s attorney but returned for his own attorney’s closing argument and part of the deliberations before departing half an hour before the verdict was announced.
In response to the verdict, Trump criticized the legal system, calling it “out of control” and a “political weapon.” His attorney, Alina Habba, pledged to continue fighting, emphasizing that the outcome would not deter them. The trial concluded as Trump pursued a third consecutive Republican presidential nomination, framing his legal challenges as evidence of a weaponized political system.
The jury’s decision focused solely on determining the amount Trump should pay Carroll for two statements he made during his presidency, not revisiting the issue of whether the alleged sexual assault had occurred.
Carroll’s attorney requested $24 million in compensatory damages and a substantial punitive award, leading to the jury awarding $18.3 million in compensatory damages and an additional $65 million in punitive damages.
The verdict is the second related to Carroll’s claim of a violent encounter with Trump in 1996 at Bergdorf Goodman’s Fifth Avenue store. In May, another jury awarded Carroll $5 million, finding Trump not liable for rape but responsible for sexual abuse and defamation.
Trump faces ongoing legal challenges, including 91 criminal charges in four indictments related to the 2020 presidential election, mishandling classified documents, and alleged payoffs to a porn star.
As Trump continues to navigate various legal battles, including a civil fraud trial, his ability to pay remains a topic of discussion. Despite his reported cash holdings of around $294 million, Trump faces multiple legal fronts and the consequences of recent civil jury decisions.