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Trump to appeal verdict requiring him to pay over $80M in E. Jean Carroll case

By Mandy Donalds
|
January 27, 2024

In a shocking Friday decision, a federal jury has ordered former President Donald Trump to pay over $83 million in damages to author E. Jean Carroll, stemming from a defamation lawsuit.

This comes after Carroll accused Trump of raping her in the 1990s, an allegation he has consistently denied, as Fox News reported.

The jury's decision includes a sum of $18.3 million in compensatory damages and $65 million in punitive damages, following their finding that Trump's statements were intentionally harmful to Carroll's reputation.

Carroll's accusation dates back to an incident allegedly occurring at a New York department store in 1996. Trump's vehement denial of these allegations led Carroll to sue him for defamation, claiming that his statements were not only false but also damaging to her personal and professional reputation.

Timeline: From 1996 Allegation to 2023 Verdict

The case's roots trace back to the mid-90s when Carroll alleges the rape occurred.

However, it wasn't until 2019, with the release of her book, that she brought the allegations into the public eye. Trump's subsequent statements, fervently denying the claims and questioning Carroll's motives, prompted her to file a defamation lawsuit against him.

Ultimately, a jury found Trump liable for defamation, setting the stage for a decision on the amount of damages owed. Throughout the trial, Trump maintained his innocence, taking the stand to deny the allegations. Despite his brief testimony, some of his statements were struck by the judge for being off topic.

Trump's Reaction: Denouncing the Verdict

Following the jury's verdict, Trump expressed his discontent and disbelief, labeling the entire legal process as a "witch hunt."

He announced his intention to appeal the decision, critiquing the legal system and asserting that his First Amendment rights were being infringed upon. He said:

Absolutely ridiculous! I fully disagree with both verdicts, and will be appealing this whole Biden Directed Witch Hunt focused on me and the Republican Party. Our Legal System is out of control, and being used as a Political Weapon. They have taken away all First Amendment Rights.

Trump's reaction continued to be vehemently against the verdict, as he expressed his thoughts on various platforms, including during his exit from the courtroom and on his Truth Social account.

He accused Judge Kaplan of denying him his constitutional right to due process, labeling the trial as one-sided and unfair.

Jury's Decision: A Balance of Damages

The jury's decision to award Carroll $18.3 million in compensatory damages and $65 million in punitive damages is indicative of their view on the severity of the defamation.

Compensatory damages are typically awarded to cover the actual loss and harm suffered, while punitive damages serve as a deterrent, penalizing the defendant for particularly harmful behavior.

The substantial sum in punitive damages suggests the jury's intent to make a statement about the gravity of using defamatory statements as a means of retaliation or harm.

Trump's defense centered around his belief that he was merely defending himself against what he considered false allegations. During his testimony, he reaffirmed his stance, stating firmly in response to questioning that he was absolutely certain about his statements.

Carroll's Case: A Defamation Battle

E. Jean Carroll's legal battle against Trump has been a high-profile case, drawing attention to the intricacies of defamation law, especially involving public figures. Her lawsuit has raised questions about the limits of free speech, especially when it comes to allegations of sexual assault and the reputations of those involved.

While Trump's defense vehemently denies the rape allegations, the crux of the lawsuit hinged on whether Trump's denial and subsequent statements about Carroll constituted defamation. The jury's verdict affirms that they found these statements to be not only false but also harmful to Carroll's reputation.

Looking Ahead: Appeals and Implications

As Trump prepares to appeal the verdict, this case is set to continue making headlines. The decision, particularly the size of the punitive damages, could have far-reaching implications for how defamation cases, especially those involving high-profile figures, are handled in the future.

Trump's appeal will likely focus on his arguments about the fairness of the trial and his rights under the First Amendment. His statements in the wake of the verdict emphasize his belief that the legal system is being used politically against him.

This case, irrespective of its outcome on appeal, highlights the complex interplay between public figures, legal battles, and media scrutiny. It also underscores the ongoing debate about the nature of truth and reputation in the digital age, where statements can have far-reaching and lasting impacts.