Manhattan jury delivers verdict against Trump in defamation suit, orders him to pay $5 million to accuser Carroll

May 10, 2023
Ben Marquis

The trial in the civil lawsuit filed against former President Donald Trump by author and columnist E. Jean Carroll concluded on Tuesday with a verdict rendered by the jury, and it was not one that was favorable for the leading GOP 2024 presidential candidate.

The Manhattan, New York jury ordered Trump to pay Carroll around $5 million after deciding that it was more likely than not that he had sexually abused and later defamed her, the Conservative Brief reported.

Carroll, who in 2019 had claimed that Trump raped her in a department store dressing room in the mid-1990s, had sued the former president over a claim of defamation of her reputation after he vehemently denied the allegation and insulted her.

Found to be likely guilty by a "preponderance of evidence"

NBC News reported that the jury, which was comprised of six men and three women, determined after just three hours of deliberation on Tuesday that a "preponderance of evidence" showed that Trump was likely guilty of the charges of defamation and sexual abuse, but not of rape.

In a prepared statement released after the verdict, Carroll said, "I filed this lawsuit against Donald Trump to clear my name and to get my life back. Today, the world finally knows the truth."

Her attorney, Roberta Kaplan, also released a statement that trotted out the favored line of anti-Trump Democrats and media figures and said, "No one is above the law, not even a former President of the United States. We are so thrilled that the jury agreed."

As for Trump, he predictably raged against the verdict in an all-caps post to his Truth Social account and wrote, "I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHO THIS WOMAN IS. THIS VERDICT IS A DISGRACE -- A CONTINUATION OF THE GREATEST WITCH HUNT OF ALL TIME!"

A more measured response was issued by a campaign spokesperson, who said, "Make no mistake, this entire bogus case is a political endeavor targeting President Trump because he is now an overwhelming front-runner to be once again elected President of the United States," and added, "This case will be appealed, and we will ultimately win."

$5 million awarded in damages

According to the Associated Press, the jury awarded Carroll a total of around $5 million, which included $2 million for the alleged sexual abuse plus $20,000 in punitive damages.

As for the claim of defamation, the jury granted her $1 million for Trump's statement plus $1.7 million for the harm caused to her reputation and an additional $280,000 in punitive damages.

The former president was not present for the verdict and did not testify in his own defense, but did make a sort of vicarious appearance by way of video of his responses during a taped deposition on the matter conducted last year.

Meanwhile, Trump faces a litany of other arguably worse legal woes of a criminal nature, including the Manhattan DA's indictment over alleged "hush money" payments in 2016 and possible 2020 election-related charges in Georgia and at the federal level, as well as potential charges related to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot of 2021 and his apparent post-presidency retention of government documents with classified markings.

Still leading in the polls ... for now

It remains unclear what, if any, impact this verdict will have on Trump's bid for a second term in the White House, but it likely won't be good as it rehashes all of the old and unproven allegations of rape and sexual assault pressed against him during his first campaign and term, as well as provides a talking point for his critics and rivals to deploy against him.

As of now, however, the RealClearPolitics average of polls -- which obviously hasn't factored in any post-verdict polls yet -- shows Trump with around 52.2 percent support in the 2024 GOP primary and a commanding lead of around 29.1 percentage points over his nearest rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, with 23.1 percent support.

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