Jury finds former US President Trump liable in defamation, sexual abuse case

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Trump in July.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

After under three hours of deliberation, a federal jury in Manhattan, New York City on Tuesday found former US President Donald Trump liable for sexual abuse and defamation of plaintiff E. Jean Carroll. The six-man, three-woman jury awarded Carroll US$5 million — roughly, US$2 million sexual abuse and US$3 million for defamation.

The jury did not find Trump liable for rape.

Trump said on his Truth Social app: "THIS VERDICT IS A DISGRACE." He said he intended to appeal on Fox News Digital.

Visiting his properties in Scotland and Ireland, Trump claimed he would attend the trial in its final stages, but did not take the judge's offer allowing him to move by May 7 to reopen the case and testify.

Carroll in 2006.
Image: Julieannesmo.

Trump said in his now-public videoed deposition, he had "absolutely no idea who this woman [Carroll] is," and she was "not my type." He also mistook her for his second wife, Marla Maples, when shown a photo of a group including the three of them.

Trump reiterated his Access Hollywood comments he could grab women by their genitals because he was "a star", after a time adding: "Unfortunately or fortunately."

Carroll, a former Elle advice columnist, was on the witness stand across three days. When defense attorney Joe Tacopina asked why she did not scream, she said: "One of the reasons women don't come forward is because they're always asked, 'Why didn't you scream?' Some women scream. Some women don't. It keeps women silent."

Tacopina questioned why she did not file a police report at the time, in spring 1996; she said she was too "ashamed". She continued: "I was born in 1943. I'm a member of the silent generation. Women like me were taught to keep our chins up and to not complain. I would never call the police about something I am ashamed of."

Two friends testified Carroll told them of the alleged assault immediately.

Carroll said she could not have sex or smile at men she found attractive after the alleged attack.

Carroll said: "I was never going to talk about what Donald Trump did." In 2019, she published a memoir accusing him, citing the #MeToo movement as encouragement.

Trump began denying ever meeting her and saying she was not "my type", which she has said "shattered my reputation", with Elle firing her months after.

The statute of limitations has ended, preventing criminal charges against Trump. Carroll sued Trump under the 2022 Adult Survivors Act, which has allowed New Yorkers a year to file suit against those they have accused of sex crimes.