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Donald Trump Ordered to Pay E. Jean Carroll $83.3 Million in Defamation Case

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NEW YORK, USA – A New York jury delivered a significant verdict on Friday, January 26, 2024, ordering former US President Donald Trump to pay a substantial sum of $83.3 million to E. Jean Carroll.

This decision comes in the wake of Carroll’s allegations that Trump defamed her, damaging her credibility as an advice columnist, following her accusation of sexual assault against him.

The jury determined that Carroll should receive $65 million in punitive damages, alongside $11 million for the harm to her reputation and an additional $7.3 million.

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FILE: U.S. President Donald Trump hosts a roundtable discussion with small business owners and members of his administration in the Roosevelt Room at the White House December 06, 2019 in Washington, DC. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The verdict, while substantial, was somewhat anticipated, especially considering the preceding legal developments.

Judge Lewis Kaplan had ruled prior to the trial that Trump indeed defamed Carroll, leaving the jury to decide solely on the quantum of damages.

This is not the first time Trump has been ordered to compensate Carroll. In a separate instance of defamation last year, another jury mandated Trump to pay $5 million.

In the wake of the verdict, the Trump 2024 campaign released a statement, criticizing the trial as a “political weapon” without providing concrete evidence to support this claim.

“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,” the statement read.

The timing of the jury’s decision is notable, coming just days after Trump’s victory in the New Hampshire primary, positioning him as the GOP front-runner.

Trump is concurrently involved in several other legal challenges, including a civil trial in New York that could result in a penalty of at least $250 million for fraudulent business practices, and potentially prohibit him from conducting business in the state.

The case against Trump stemmed from allegations by Carroll, who accused him of sexually assaulting her in the 1990s, a claim detailed in her book and previewed in a New York magazine article.

Trump’s response to these allegations, particularly his outright denial and disparaging remarks about Carroll, led to her defamation lawsuit. She argued that his comments not only tarnished her reputation but also resulted in a barrage of insults and threats directed at her.

The lawsuit faced initial hurdles when Trump’s then-Attorney General, Bill Barr, blocked it by arguing Trump’s comments were made in his capacity as president. However, in 2023, under Biden’s administration, this stance was reversed, allowing the defamation lawsuit to proceed.

This verdict is particularly notable as it involves a much larger sum than the initial lawsuit amount sought by Carroll.

The nine-person jury awarded Carroll $18.3 million in compensatory damages and a staggering $65 million in punitive damages. Carroll’s legal team argued that the punitive damages should be substantial enough to deter Trump from further defamatory behaviour.

Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, highlighted Trump’s wealth and ongoing defamatory conduct during the trial.

However, whether Carroll will actually receive the awarded amount remains uncertain. Trump has already announced his intention to appeal the verdict.

Last year, Carroll was awarded $5 million in a similar defamation trial, which is still under appeal.

Trump has set aside $5.5 million in a court-controlled account for the defamation lawsuit judgment, but Carroll’s access to these funds depends on the outcome of all appeals, potentially extending to the US Supreme Court.

Trump’s walkout from the courtroom during the closing arguments of Carroll’s attorney marked a final act of defiance in the defamation trial. He had been admonished several times for speaking out of turn and for overstepping the boundaries of his limited testimony.

Unlike his extended testimony in the New York state court’s civil fraud trial, Trump faced more restrictions in the federal court at the defamation trial.

The jury’s decision came after less than three hours of deliberation, indicating a clear consensus on the harm Carroll suffered from Trump’s defamatory statements.

Carroll’s legal team urged the jury to impose high punitive damages to stop Trump’s attacks.

Conversely, Trump’s attorney argued that Carroll was responsible for the media attention and public profile she sought, and that Trump should not be held accountable for the negative messages directed at her.

Judge Lewis Kaplan, who presided over the trial, showed little tolerance for Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, admonishing her multiple times during the closing arguments and warning her of potential consequences for her conduct in court.

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