POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Jury says Donald Trump must pay an additional $83.3 million to E. Jean Carroll in defamation case

Jan 26, 2024, 3:02 PM | Updated: 3:04 pm

Former U.S. President Donald Trump attends the closing arguments in the Trump Organization civil fr...

FILE - Former U.S. President Donald Trump attends the closing arguments in the Trump Organization civil fraud trial in the Manhattan borough of New York, Jan. 11, 2024. Trump could testify as soon as Monday, Jan. 22, in his defamation trial for calling sexual assault accuser E. Jean Carroll a liar. But the judge has ruled that if Trump takes the stand, he won't be allowed to say that the writer concocted her allegation, nor that she was motivated by financial or political considerations. (Shannon Stapleton/Pool Photo via AP, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(Shannon Stapleton/Pool Photo via AP, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — A jury has awarded an additional $83.3 million to former advice columnist E. Jean Carroll, who says former President Donald Trump damaged her reputation by calling her a liar after she accused him of sexual assault.

Friday’s verdict was the second time in nine months that a jury addressed Carroll’s claim that Trump assaulted her in a New York City department store in 1996. Another jury last May found Trump liable for sexual abuse and ordered him to pay $5 million. This defamation trial was over things Trump said about Carroll while he was president. Trump continues to insist he was falsely accused.

The verdict was delivered Friday by a seven-man, two-woman jury in a trial regularly attended by Trump, who abruptly left the courtroom Friday during closing arguments by a Carroll lawyer before returning to hear his own lawyer’s closing and the full rebuttal argument by another Carroll attorney. He stayed in place to hear the judge’s instructions to the jury as well.

It was the second time in nine months that a jury returned a verdict related to Carroll’s claim that a flirtatious, chance encounter with Trump in 1996 at a Bergdorf Goodman store ended violently. She said Trump slammed her against a dressing room wall, pulled down her tights and forced himself on her.

In May, a different jury awarded Carroll $5 million. It found Trump not liable for rape, but responsible for sexually abusing Carroll and then defaming her by claiming she made it up. He is appealing that award.

Trump skipped the first trial. He later expressed regret for not attending and insisted on testifying in the second trial, though the judge limited what he could say, ruling he had missed his chance to argue that he was innocent. He spent only a few minutes on the witness stand Thursday, during which he denied attacking Carroll, then left court grumbling “this is not America.”

This new jury was only asked how much Trump, 77, should pay Carroll, 80, for two statements he made as president when he answered reporters’ questions after excerpts of Carroll’s memoir were published in a magazine — damages that couldn’t be decided earlier because of legal appeals. Jurors were not asked to re-decide the issue of whether the sex attack actually happened.

Carroll’s attorneys had requested $24 million in compensatory damages and “an unusually high punitive award.”

Her lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, urged jurors in her closing argument Friday to punish Trump enough that he would stop a steady stream of public statements smearing Carroll as a liar and a “whack job.”

Trump shook his head vigorously as Kaplan spoke, then suddenly stood and walked out, taking Secret Service agents with him. His exit came only minutes after the judge, without the jury present, threatened to send Trump attorney Alina Habba to jail for continuing to talk when he told her she was finished.

“You are on the verge of spending some time in the lockup. Now sit down,” the judge told Habba, who immediately complied.

The trial reached its conclusion as Trump marches toward winning the Republican presidential nomination a third consecutive time. He has sought to turn his various trials and legal vulnerabilities into an advantage, portraying them as evidence of a weaponized political system.

Though there’s no evidence that President Joe Biden or anyone in the White House has influenced any of the legal cases against him, Trump’s line of argument has resonated with his most loyal supporters who view the proceedings with skepticism.

Carroll testified early in the trial that Trump’s public statements had led to death threats.

“He shattered my reputation,” she said. “I am here to get my reputation back and to stop him from telling lies about me.”

She said she’d had an electronic fence installed around the cabin in upstate New York where she lives, warned neighbors of the threats and bought bullets for a gun she keeps by her bed.

“Previously, I was known as simply as a journalist and had a column, and now I’m known as the liar, the fraud, and the whack job,” Carroll testified.

Trump’s lawyer, Habba, told jurors that Carroll had been enriched by her accusations against Trump and achieved fame she had craved. She said no damages were warranted.
To support Carroll’s request for millions in damages, Northwestern University sociologist Ashlee Humphreys told the jury that Trump’s 2019 statements had caused between $7.2 million and $12.1 million in harm to Carroll’s reputation.

When Trump finally testified, Kaplan gave him little room to maneuver, because Trump could not be permitted to try to revive issues settled in the first trial.

“It is a very well-established legal principle in this country that prevents do-overs by disappointed litigants,” Kaplan said.

“He lost it and he is bound. And the jury will be instructed that, regardless of what he says in court here today, he did it, as far as they’re concerned. That is the law,” Kaplan said shortly before Trump testified.

After he swore to tell the truth, Trump was asked if he stood by a deposition in which he called Carroll a “liar” and a “whack job.” He answered: “100 percent. Yes.”

Asked if he denied the allegation because Carroll made an accusation, he responded: “That’s exactly right. She said something, I consider it a false accusation.” Asked if he ever instructed anyone to hurt Carroll, he said: “No. I just wanted to defend myself, my family, and frankly, the presidency.”

The judge ordered the jury to disregard the “false accusation” comment and everything Trump said after “No” to the last question.

Earlier in the trial, Trump tested the judge’s tolerance. When he complained to his lawyers about a “witch hunt” and a “con job” within earshot of jurors, Kaplan threatened to eject him from the courtroom if it happened again. “I would love it,” Trump said. Later that day, Trump told a news conference Kaplan was a “nasty judge.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Politics + Government

FILE: An Angel bike given to the family of Eli Mitchell in April, 2023. Mitchell was hit and killed...

Britt Johnson

Families of drunk driving victims fight possible new Utah liquor license legislation

The bill sponsored by Rep. Jefferson Burton would increase the number of liquor licenses issued by the state of Utah.

57 minutes ago

Rep. Dan Johnson, R-Logan, was transported in an ambulance after an apparent medical issue in the H...

Bridger Beal-Cvetko

Utah representative transported in ambulance after apparent medical issue on House floor

Rep. Dan Johnson, R-Logan, was seated at his desk shortly after lawmakers convened for an afternoon session at 2 p.m. when the incident occurred.

2 hours ago

utah lake shown, a bill tackling a failed lake project has advanced...

Adam Small

A bill to undo law regarding controversial, failed Utah Lake project advances to the full House

The law that would be repealed through this bill is the same law that created the Utah Lake Restoration Act.

4 hours ago

Former president Donald Trump, Manhattan trial...

MICHAEL R. SISAK

With trial starting next month, Manhattan DA asks judge for a gag order in Trump’s hush-money case

The Manhattan DA's office asked that Trump be barred from making or directing others to make public statements about people involved in the case.

6 hours ago

Utah capitol clock...

Bridger Beal-Cvetko, KSL.com

These are the biggest unresolved issues as Utah lawmakers enter last week of session

The 2024 Utah Legislative Session will come to a close on March 1. Here are some of the biggest bills yet to be passed.

10 hours ago

utah lawmakers shown, a new resolution wants to address the natalie cline controversy...

Allessandra Harris

Lawmakers working to approve budget as legislative session enters last week

Lawmakers are looking to approve final budget as the legislative session enters the final week. The session ends March 1.

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Jury says Donald Trump must pay an additional $83.3 million to E. Jean Carroll in defamation case