A New York jury on Tuesday found former US President Donald Trump liable for sexual abuse and defamation against advice columnist E. Jean Carroll. He was ordered to pay $5 million (€4.56 million) in restitution and fines in the civil case.
However, the jury rejected Carroll’s claim that Trump sexually assaulted her in 1996.
During the two-week trial, Carroll testified that Trump assaulted her in a fitting room at a luxury store in Manhattan. He said he damaged his reputation by writing in a post on his platform Truth Social in 2022 that his allegations were a “complete work of deception,” “a hoax” and “lies.”
“Today, the world finally knows the truth,” Carroll said in a statement after the ruling.
“This victory is not only for me but for every woman who suffers because she is not believed.”
There is no prospect of Trump facing prison or similar consequences because the case is civil rather than criminal.
How did Trump respond?
Trump has maintained that he did not attack Carroll or even know him. He did not attend the trial.
The former president, who intends to run for the White House in 2024, said the verdict was a “disgrace,” and again claimed it was part of a political “witch hunt” against him.
“I really don’t know who this woman is,” he said in a post on Truth Social, the social network he owns.
What are the accusations against Trump?
The 79-year-old Carroll said Trump raped her at the Bergdorf Goodman department store nearly 30 years ago.
He works as a writer Ella magazine at the time and said Trump asked her for help choosing a gift for a woman. They are said to be in a dressing room after looking around the store and talking. Here Carroll says Trump pushed her against a wall and raped her.
Carroll said he escaped after a few minutes.
He added that it took him more than 20 years to make the allegations public because he was “scared” of Trump.
“I’m here because Donald Trump raped me, and when I wrote about it, he said it didn’t happen. He lied and ruined my reputation, and I’m here to try and get my life back,” Carroll said in his testimony at trial.
Trump leads in Republican opinion polls
Trump cited Carroll’s attempt at campaign fundraising emails as evidence of a Democrat plot to harm him politically.
Analysts believe Tuesday’s decision is unlikely to hurt his presidential bid among Republican voters.
“The anti-Trump people will remain that way, the core pro-Trump voters will not change, and the ambivalent ones I don’t think will be moved by this kind of thing,” Charlie Si Gerow, a Pennsylvania Republican strategist, told Reuters news agency.
Trump is leading the opinion polls for the Republican presidential nomination and has managed to face many controversies and legal battles in the past.
He has several other legal hurdles ahead of him, including recent criminal charges related to hush money he allegedly paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels.
zc, ab, fb/jcg (AP, Reuters)