Former President Donald Trump was found guilty by a civil jury of sexually abusing a magazine columnist in a New York department shop in the 1990s, and he was ordered to pay a hefty amount in damages for the assault and subsequent defamation of the woman by calling her a liar.
E. Jean Carroll was given $5 million in damages by a Manhattan jury on Tuesday after it found former president Donald J. Trump responsible for sexually assaulting and defaming her. Over the years, more than a dozen women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct, but only this claim has been supported by a jury.
In the civil lawsuit, a jury of six men and three women found that E. Jean Carroll, 79, a former magazine writer, had shown adequate evidence that Trump had sexually assaulted her in a Manhattan dressing room about 30 years prior. This occurred in the Bergdorf Goodman department store.
Carroll declared in a statement that “today, the world finally knows the truth.” “This victory is not just for me but for every woman who has suffered because she was not believed,” she said after the verdict.
However, the jury did not determine that he had raped her as she had long alleged.
In three days of vivid and occasionally heated testimony, E. Jean Carroll engaged in heated exchanges with a former president’s attorney while telling the jury about the day she claimed Donald J. Trump attacked her.
The accusation against Trump
Carroll stated in federal court in Manhattan that the encounter with Trump began with banter after he halted her at the Bergdorf Goodman exit on 58th Street nearly three decades ago. According to Carroll, Trump assaulted her physically and accused him of rape under the guise of requesting assistance in selecting some gifts. She testified in court that the incident rendered her incapable of ever having a romantic relationship again.
Carroll filed the lawsuit in November 2017 under the “New York State Adult Survivors Act,” a state law that opened a look-back window for sexual assault allegations with long-expired statutes of limitations, such as Carroll’s.
During cross-examination, a counsel for the former president questioned Carroll about her politics, the length of time it took her to come forward, and her inability to recall the year of the alleged attack. Trump’s attorney, Joseph Tacopina, insinuated that Carroll chose to disclose her story in order to boost sales of the memoir in which she first made her allegation public.
Carroll stated that she decided to go public following The New York Times’ “bombshell” reporting about Harvey Weinstein, which sparked the #MeToo movement. She stated that sharing her story about Trump could be “a way to change the culture of sexual violence.”
Trump allegedly harmed her reputation by claiming in an October 2022 post on his Truth Social platform that her claims were a “complete con job,” “a hoax,” and “a lie” after she disclosed the incident to the public. She claimed that Trump’s public denials destroyed her career and sparked an online intimidation campaign by his supporters.
Trump has been denying the accusation from the beginning. He did not attend the trial, which began on April 25. In a post on his Truth Social platform, Trump referred to the verdict as a “disgrace” and stated, “I have absolutely no idea who this woman is.” Prior to this, he had stated that he could not have assaulted Carroll because the woman was “not my type.”
Former President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that he will appeal the verdict of a Manhattan federal jury. “We’ll be appealing this decision,” he said.
Trump stated, “We will have to fight this in some way. We cannot let our country go into this abyss. This is disgraceful.”
Due to the fact that it was a civil case, Trump faces no criminal consequences, and he was never threatened with imprisonment. The jury awarded Carroll $2 million in compensatory damages and $20,000 in punitive damages for her claim of assault, and $2.7 million in compensatory damages and $280,000 in punitive damages for her claim of defamation. However, Trump will not be required to pay while the case is on appeal.
Trump has previously referenced the prosecution in campaign fundraising emails as evidence of Democratic efforts to destroy him politically.
In March, he was indicted for paying hush money to an adult film actress prior to his victory in the 2016 presidential election. After the indictment, which made him the first former US president to be criminally charged, his approval rating increased.
Core pro-trump voters to change party?
Trump, who had served as president from 2017 to 2021, is the poll leader for the Republican presidential nomination and has demonstrated an uncanny ability to withstand controversies that would ruin other politicians. While the ruling may not affect Trump’s constituency within the Republican Party, where his supporters view the US legal system with skepticism and have stood by him in the face of all adversity, it could have a lasting impact.
In the polarized political climate of the United States, it seems unlikely that the civil verdict will affect Trump’s core supporters, who view his legal troubles as a concerted effort by his opponents to undermine him.
“The folks that are anti-Trump are going to remain that way, the core pro-Trump voters are not going to change, and the ambivalent ones I just don’t think are going to be moved by this type of thing,” said Charlie Gerow, a Republican strategist in Pennsylvania. Gerow stated that any negative effects are likely to be minimal and limited to suburban women and moderate Republicans.
However, the response of two Republican senators highlights the danger this moment poses to his 2024 White House candidacy.
“It has a cumulative effect. People are going to have to decide if they want to deal with all the drama,” said Senator John Thune of South Dakota.
“I don’t think he can get elected. You can’t win a general election with just your base,” warned John Cornyn of Texas.
Trump has previously disregarded such legal concerns. But the verdict of the New York jury strikes Trump with a wound that mere “investigations” do not. So, the imapcts are definitely going to be different than ususal.