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Trump ordered to pay 83.3 million for defamation

Illustration: Elizabeth Williams via Associated Press A sketch of Donald Trump leaving the courtroom on Friday, followed by his lawyer Boris Epshteyn

Nicolas Revise – Agence France-Presse and Gregory Walton – Agence France-Presse in New York

January 26, 2024

  • United States

Donald Trump was ordered Friday by a New York civil court to pay a whopping $83.3 million in damages to author E. Jean Carroll for defaming her, amid 'rape accusations in the 1990s.

The former President of the United States, campaigning for re-election, immediately lambasted a “ridiculous” conviction on his social network Truth Social and promised to appeal.

The big favorite in the Republican primaries and very likely opponent of Joe Biden in the November presidential election has once again denounced “a witch hunt led by Biden against [him] and the Republican Party”.

This astronomical amount of more than $83 million, decided by a popular jury, includes $65 million in “punitive” damages.

The jurors recognized the intention to “harm” Mr. Trump, 77, already found responsible by the judge for defamatory remarks against Ms. Carroll, 80, who claimed at least $10 million in compensation for moral and professional harm.

Elizabeth Jean Carroll is a former columnist for the American edition of Elle magazinewho accused Donald Trump of rape in 1996 in a fitting room of a New York department store. On the basis of another civil complaint in 2022 for rape and defamation, she had already had him found liable last May in civil proceedings for sexual assault 28 years ago and for defamatory comments made in 2022. Mr. Trump was then ordered to pay $5 million in reparations.

The total amount he must pay after the 2023 and 2024 trials therefore amounts to more than $88 million.

This second trial, solely for defamation, arises from a first civil complaint in 2019 and began on January 16, in an electric atmosphere, in the presence most often of the ex-tenant of the House -Blanche, who dreams of returning there.

Trump leaves the courtroom

The final arguments had barely begun on Friday when the tempestuous businessman suddenly got up from his chair and jumped out of the courtroom, according to an AFP journalist. Donald Trump, however, returned to the courtroom.

Ms. Carroll's lawyer, Roberta Kaplan [no relation to Judge Kaplan], had just said that the former President of the United States had “continued throughout the trial to defame” her customer.

“The man who sexually assaulted [Ms. Carroll] does what he wants: he lies, he defames,” thundered the lawyer, for whom the septuagenarian “continues to harm her on its powerful platform,” Truth Social, and its tens of millions of subscribers.

In fact, the tycoon published around twenty messages on Friday once again accusing Ms. Carroll of having put together “a false Monica Lewinsky story” – named after the scandal of the White House intern who almost took away the president Bill Clinton in the late 1990s — and “seeking to extort” money.

On Thursday, the ex-president briefly defended himself at the trial, but his freedom of speech was strictly limited by the judge to avoid any verbal slippage.

He simply indicated with a “yes” that he had made the comments targeted by a first complaint in 2019 against accusations of rape that had just been launched, for the first time publicly, by E. Jean Carroll in a book.

“She said something that I thought was false,” Mr. Trump said.

But again on Wednesday evening, he had launched 37 attacks on Truth Social against Ms. Carroll, whom he continues to denigrate and insult by calling her “crazy”, with a “phony story”, that he ” never seen in [his] life.” “She’s sick,” he repeated during the procedure.

Judge Kaplan, who presided over the first trial last year, ordered that this second only relate to the defamatory comments of Donald Trump and not to the complainant's accusations of rape. In addition to this case, four criminal trials await the former president of the United States.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116