Jury Finds Trump Liable for Sexual Abuse in Rape Trial

May 9, 2023


After fewer than three hours of deliberations, a federal jury in New York City found former President Trump liable for sexual abuse, though not rape, and it did find him liable for defamation.

E. Jean Carroll, a former advice columnist for Elle magazine, filed suit against former President Trump for battery under New York State’s Adult Suvivors Act on the same day the legislation went into effect—Thanksgiving day.

The jury awarded her nearly $5 million in damages.

She asserted that Trump raped her in a department store dressing room in the mid-1990s. 

Carroll already had a pending lawsuit against Trump for defamation, saying his public denials and disparaging comments have damaged her reputation and caused her psychological harm.

Trump called her allegations “a con job,” a “hoax” and a “lie,” as well as “a complete scam,” which he maintains aren’t defamatory comments and are the truth.

Closing arguments wrapped Monday without Trump’s defense attorneys having called a single witness. 

Judge Lewis Kaplan had given Trump a 5pm ET Sunday deadline to decide if he wanted to testify in his own defense, to which Trump did not respond.

Despite skipping the judge’s offer, Trump posted on his Truth Social platform on Tuesday that he was “not allowed to speak or defend himself” against Carroll’s accusations, which he again called false.  

He added, “I will therefore not speak until after the trial, but will appeal the Unconstitutional silencing of me, as a candidate, no matter the outcome!”

The former President announced in November that he was running for reelection in 2024.

In the absence of Trump’s testimony, Carroll’s attorneys had entered into evidence a video of a deposition undertaken by Trump in October at his Florida country club residence, Mar-a-Lago (see photo).

When questioned by Carroll attorney Roberta Kaplan—no relation to Judge Kaplan—about the about the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape from 2005 in which Trump can be heard saying, “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything,” adding: “Grab them by the p***y,” Trump replied that “historically” that’s been true, “unfortunately or fortunately.”

He further told the attorney that he considered himself a star. 

Ms. Kaplan kicked off closing arguments Monday, telling the jury that Carroll was “not hiding anything.”

“Even when she was asked the most difficult and obviously offensive questions … she answered them calmly and patiently,” Kaplan said, referring to Trump’s lawyers’ three days of cross-examination of Carroll.

During his closing arguments, Trump attorney Joseph Tacopina urged jurors to set aside any opinions they might have about the former President and reject what he called Carroll’s efforts to “profit” off, according to him, a false story. 

Carroll disclosed her rape allegations against Trump in a 2019 memoir at the height of the #metoo movement.

“What E. Jean Carroll has done here is an affront to justice. She has abused this system by bringing a false claim for amongst other things money, status, political reasons,” Tacopina said.

Carroll, who testified that she’d lost her job at Elle magazine and received death threats after publishing her memoir, was seeking unspecified monetary damages.

Since this is not a criminal trial, the jury had to determine whether Carroll’s legal team proved that Trump committed battery against her by a preponderance of the evidence, rather than beyond a reasonable doubt.

The federal courthouse was just a short walk from the court from where Trump’s arraignment April 4 on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records related to hush money paid to at least two women ahead of the 2016 Presidential election took place. 

Read more exclusive news from Political IQ.

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