Former US president Donald Trump must pay $5 million in damages for sexually abusing magazine writer E Jean Carroll in the 1990s and then defaming her by branding her a liar, a jury decided on Tuesday (9).
In response to the verdict, Carroll expressed that this outcome represents a triumph not only for herself but also for all women who have endured disbelief when sharing their experiences.
Donald Trump, who is currently campaigning for the presidency in 2024, intends to challenge the decision and will file an appeal, as stated by his lawyer Joseph Tacopina outside the Manhattan federal courthouse.
During the civil trial, Carroll, aged 79, provided testimony alleging that Trump, aged 76, raped her in a dressing room at the Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan, either in 1995 or 1996.
Additionally, she claimed that Trump further damaged her reputation by making derogatory statements on his Truth Social platform in October 2022, dismissing her allegations as a “complete con job,” “a hoax,” and “a lie.”
In a post on his Truth Social platform, Trump called the verdict a “disgrace” and said, “I have absolutely no idea who this woman is.”
Because it was a civil case, Trump faces no criminal consequences and, as such, there was never a threat of prison.
The jury, required to reach a unanimous verdict, deliberated for just under three hours. Its six men and three women awarded Carroll $5 million in compensatory and punitive damages, but Trump will not have to pay so long as the case is on appeal.
In April, Trump gave election regulators only the rough estimates of his wealth that are required in financial disclosures, listing over a dozen properties as worth “over $50 million” each.
President from 2017 to 2021, Trump is the front-runner in opinion polls for the Republican presidential nomination and has shown an uncanny ability to weather controversies that might sink other politicians.
It seems unlikely in America’s polarised political climate that the civil verdict will have an impact on Trump’s core supporters, who view his legal woes as part of a concerted effort by opponents to undermine him.
“The folks that are anti-Trump are going to remain that way, the core pro-Trump voters are not going to change, and the ambivalent ones I just don’t think are going to be moved by this type of thing,” said Charlie Gerow, a Republican strategist in Pennsylvania.
Any negative impact is likely to be small and limited to suburban women and moderate Republicans, Gerow said.
Trump has cited the Carroll trial in campaign fundraising emails as evidence of what he portrays as a Democratic plot. He has said Carroll, a former Elle magazine columnist and a registered Democrat, made up the allegations to try to increase sales of her 2019 memoir and to hurt him politically.
His poll numbers improved after he was charged last month with falsifying business records over a hush money payment to a porn star before his victory in the 2016 presidential election.
The first US president past or present to be criminally charged, Trump has pleaded not guilty and said the charges are politically motivated.
Lis Smith, a Democratic strategist, said it remained to be seen whether the verdict in Carroll’s case would make Trump “unpalatable” to Republican voters beyond his base, prompting them to coalesce around another candidate.
The trial featured testimony from former People magazine reporter Natasha Stoynoff, who told jurors that Trump cornered her at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida in 2005 and forcibly kissed her for a “few minutes.” Another woman, Jessica Leeds, testified that Trump kissed her, groped her and put his hand up her skirt on a flight in 1979.