Donald Trump must pay E Jean Carroll $83.3m for calling her sex assault claim a lie

Donald Trump has been ordered to pay $83.3m (£65.5m) in a defamation case against a woman he was found liable for sexually assaulting - with the former US president branding it all a "witch hunt".

The court said Trump should pay $18.3m (£14.4m) in compensation and $65m (£51m) in punitive damages to E Jean Carroll.

Ms Carroll smiled as the verdict was read. Trump had already left the building in his motorcade.

Trump posted from his Truth Social account after the jury's decision: "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.

"Our Legal System is out of control, and being used as a Political Weapon. They have taken away all First Amendment Rights. THIS IS NOT AMERICA!"

Jurors heard closing arguments in the case earlier on Friday, with Ms Carroll's lawyer telling them that Trump should pay "dearly" for defaming her.

A separate jury ordered Trump to pay Ms Carroll $5m (£3.9m) last year after finding him liable of sexually abusing her in a Bergdorf Goodman department store in New York in the mid-1990s. They also found him liable of defaming her after she wrote about the incident.

The trial that ended today focused only on what damages the former US president would have to pay for defaming her.

The amount is considerably more than the $10m (£7.9m) Ms Carroll had been seeking.

The former Elle magazine advice columnist accused Trump of destroying her reputation as a trustworthy journalist by accusing her of lying about her rape allegation.

The 80-year-old said Trump's comments caused her to be subjected to years of continuous attacks, including death threats.

A lawyer for the former president argued Ms Carroll did not deserve any money, claiming she enjoyed the attention and suffered neither professional nor emotional harm after Trump branded her a liar.

Trump, 77, accused Ms Carroll of making up the encounter to boost sales of her memoir, and has maintained he had never heard of her.

He also attacked Ms Carroll during the trial and on the presidential campaign trial, proclaiming her case a "witch hunt" and a "con job".

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Trump had earlier stormed out of the courtroom as Ms Carroll's lawyer Roberta Kaplan began her closing argument on Friday.

Ms Kaplan told jurors they should punish Trump for persistently lying about her client.

"We all have to follow the law," Ms Kaplan said. "Donald Trump, however, acts as if these rules and laws just don't apply to him."

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Trump, who is the clear favourite to be the Republican candidate in the US election later this year, attended the entire trial except for opening statements, which he skipped for a presidential campaign event.

He is seeking to retake the White House in the November election in a likely showdown against Democrat Joe Biden, who beat him in 2020.