Donald Trump found liable for sexual abuse in E Jean Carroll trial

Donald Trump found liable for sexual abuse in E Jean Carroll trial

A jury in New York has found Donald Trump liable for the sexual abuse of writer E Jean Carroll.

Ms Carroll, 79, sued the former president for raping her in a dressing room at a Bergdorf Goodman in New York in 1996, and then “destroying” her reputation when he claimed she was lying.

The jury didn’t find Mr Trump liable for raping Ms Carroll.

In the courtroom, the clerk read the verdict: “As to battery, did Ms Carroll prove that Mr Trump raped Ms Carroll?” The jury answered “No”.

But the jury did find that Mr Trump more likely than not sexually abused Ms Carroll, and awarded her $2m (£1.6m).

The jury also found Mr Trump liable for wanton disregard, for which Ms Carroll was awarded $20,000 (£16,000).

Mr Trump was also found liable for defamation as the jury found that he made false statements about Ms Carroll.

The jury found that Mr Trump acted with actual malice and that Ms Carroll had been injured, for which she was awarded $1m. For repairing her reputation, Ms Carroll was awarded $1.7m.

In total, Ms Carrol was awarded $5m (£4m).

Judge Lewis Kaplan told the jury, which has remained anonymous, that they’re allowed to speak about their experience and to publically identify themselves as having been a part of the jury.

But he also shared his advice, telling them not to go public.

“Not now, and not for a long time,” he said.

“I suggest you not identify yourselves,” he told the jury just before they left the courtroom.

Judge Kaplan also directed the jury not to identify other members of the group.

As the verdict was read out, Ms Carroll sat emotionless in the front row beside her attorneys Roberta Kaplan and Shawn Crowley. She nodded her head as Judge Lewis Kaplan thanked the jury for paying close attention to the evidence, “even when it wasn’t riveting”.

After the jury was led out, she hugged Ms Kaplan and Ms Crowley. Defence attorney Joe Tacopina approached and shook her hand and said, “Congratulations and good luck”.

As she left the court, Ms Carroll was heard saying: “We’re very happy”.

The jury heard graphic testimony from Ms Carroll and two other women, Jessica Leeds and Natasha Stoynoff, who accused Mr Trump of sexual assault.

Mr Trump’s “grab em by the p***y” comments in the Access Hollywood tape amounted to a “confession”, Ms Carroll’s attorney Roberta Kaplan told jurors in closing statements on Monday.

Ms Carroll “was exactly” Mr Trump's type and had sexually assaulted her in the exact way that he had been caught describing his treatment of women on the infamous recording, Ms Kaplan added.

“In a real sense, Donald Trump is a witness against himself,” she said.

Ms Carroll, a longtime Elle magazine advice columnist, first revealed details of the sexual assault in a book excerpt that ran in New York magazine in June 2019.

Over three days of testimony, Ms Carroll told the jury that she and Mr Trump had engaged in playful banter after a chance encounter at Bergdorf Goodman one evening in the mid-1990s.

But after taking an escalator up to a deserted 6th floor to look for lingerie, Mr Trump led her to a dressing room, pushed her up against a wall and sexually assaulted her.

“It was extremely painful,” Ms Carroll told the jury. “He put his hand inside me and curled his finger. As I sit here today, I can still feel it.”

Ms Carroll added a charge of battery under a recently adopted New York law that allows survivors of sexual abuse to sue their alleged attackers despite the statute of limitations.

She told how the traumatic experience had left her incapable of forming romantic relationships.

The writer said she would be inundated with a “wave of slime” on social media every time Mr Trump commented or posted about her allegations.

As the case was tried in civil court, the jury had to find that Ms Carroll’s attorneys had proved Trump was liable for battery and defamation by a preponderous of evidence.

Leslie Lebowitz, a clinical psychologist, testified that Ms Carroll suffered symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, and had a panic attack after being shown an episode of the Trump-hosted reality show The Apprentice.

Ms Carroll slept with a loaded gun at her cabin in upstate New York after receiving death threats from Mr Trump’s supporters, Ms Lebowitz testified.

Mr Trump did not testify in the case, but the jury heard his deposition where he confused his second wife Marla Maples for Ms Carroll.