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Federal Judge Upholds $5 Million Verdict Against Donald Trump in E. Jean Carroll Case

July 19, 2023

Photo Credit: AP

A federal judge has upheld a $5 million jury verdict against former President Donald Trump, dismissing his claims that the award was excessive and that the jury’s decision vindicated him in the civil case brought by writer E. Jean Carroll. The jury awarded compensatory and punitive damages to Carroll in May for sexual abuse and defamation, which Judge Lewis A. Kaplan deemed reasonable.

Trump’s legal team had requested that the jury award be reduced to less than $1 million or that a new trial on damages be ordered. They argued that the $2 million compensatory damages granted for Carroll’s sexual assault claim were excessive, as the jury concluded that Trump had not committed rape within the strict legal definition.

Judge Kaplan clarified that the jury’s unanimous verdict strongly favored Carroll, except for the narrow legal interpretation of rape under New York Penal Law. He highlighted that the legal definition of rape differs from its common understanding, which may be more inclusive.

Kaplan further explained that the jury found convincing evidence that Trump deliberately and forcibly penetrated Carroll’s vagina with his fingers, causing immediate pain and lasting emotional and psychological harm. The $2 million award for sexual abuse was deemed appropriate based on this finding, rather than a conclusion that Trump had engaged in less severe misconduct.

Trump’s lawyers quickly amended their appeal of the trial to include the judge’s ruling. However, an immediate comment from the legal team was not provided.

Attorney Robbie Kaplan, representing E. Jean Carroll, welcomed the judge’s decision and confirmed that her client looks forward to receiving the $5 million in damages awarded by the jury. Additionally, Carroll anticipates a second defamation trial against Trump, scheduled for January, based on statements made during and after the first trial.

Since the May verdict, Trump has continued to deny ever encountering Carroll at the department store or knowing her before the accusations in her 2019 memoir. Carroll had claimed that Trump sexually assaulted her in a dressing room at the Manhattan store after they flirted during a chance encounter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In response to the verdict, Carroll added new claims to her pending defamation lawsuit, seeking an additional $10 million in compensatory damages and unspecified punitive damages. In turn, Trump countersued Carroll, maintaining that he was defamed by her continued allegations of rape.

The Associated Press has chosen to name Carroll publicly, as she came forward with her allegations of sexual assault.

Source: AP

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