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Trump Found Liable of Sexual Abuse and Defamation in Civil Rape Trial

Trump Found Liable of Sexual Abuse and Defamation in Civil Rape Trial

E. Jean Carroll, second from right, arrives at Manhattan federal court, Tuesday, May 9, 2023, in New York. A jury in New York City is set to begin deliberations in a civil trial over Carroll’s claims that Donald Trump raped her in a luxury Manhattan department store. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

By Isabel Soisson

May 9, 2023

A Manhattan jury on Tuesday found that former President Donald Trump sexually abused and defamed magazine writer E. Jean Carroll, awarding her $5 million in compensatory and punitive damages.

The nine-person jury deliberated for just under three hours, according to Reuters. Since this was a civil case, however, the former president will not face jail time.

Carroll testified during the trial that Trump raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman department store dressing room in Manhattan in either 1995 or 1996. She also testified that the former president harmed her reputation by writing that her claims were a “complete con job,” “a hoax,” and “a lie,” on his social media platform, Truth Social.

In order to find him liable, the jury, which was made up of six men and three women, had to reach a unanimous decision. Jurors were separately asked whether Trump raped or sexually abused Carroll and whether he defamed her.

Sexual abuse is defined under New York law as forcing a person into sexual contact (but not necessarily intercourse) without their consent, while rape is defined as sexual intercourse without consent.

Carroll was required to establish her rape claim by “a preponderance of the evidence,” which means that her allegations were “more likely than not” to have happened. This is a lower threshold than is implemented in criminal cases, which require prosecutors to prove that a crime happened “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

In addition to Carroll’s testimony, two other women testified claiming that Trump had sexually assaulted them as well. Former People magazine reporter Natasha Stoynoff said that Trump cornered her at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida in 2005 and forcibly kissed her. Jessica Leeds testified that the former president kissed and groped her on a flight in 1979.

The jurors also heard excerpts from the infamous 2005 “Access Hollywood” video in which Trump says women let him “grab ’em by the pussy.”

Ultimately, the jury determined that Trump did in fact sexually abuse Carroll, but did not find him liable for rape.

Trump predictably reacted with fury after the verdict was announced.

“I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHO THIS WOMAN IS. THIS VERDICT IS A DISGRACE – A CONTINUATION OF THE GREATEST WITCH HUNT OF ALL TIME!” Trump posted to Truth Social on Tuesday afternoon.

The jury’s decision comes as Trump faces significant legal troubles across the country, including an investigation in Georgia for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, two Department of Justice inquiries into his role in the Jan. 6 attack and his mishandling of classified documents, and another case in New York, where he was recently indicted on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records over allegations that he made hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels. 

Trump pleaded not guilty to all charges, however.

Author

  • Isabel Soisson

    Isabel Soisson is a multimedia journalist who has worked at WPMT FOX43 TV in Harrisburg, along with serving various roles at CNBC, NBC News, Philadelphia Magazine, and Philadelphia Style Magazine.

CATEGORIES: POLITICS | TRUMP
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