US jury finds Trump sexually abused writer, awards her $5M

In this image taken from video released by Kaplan Hecker & Fink, former President Donald pauses during his Oct. 19, 2022, deposition for his trial against writer E. Jean Carroll. (Kaplan Hecker & Fink via AP)

A New York jury has found Donald Trump liable for sexually abusing and defaming an American former magazine columnist and ordered the ex-US president to pay her $5 million in damages.

The nine jurors rejected E. Jean Carroll's accusation of rape but unanimously upheld her other complaints in the closely watched civil trial, following less than three hours of deliberations on Tuesday.

It marks the first time Trump has faced legal consequences over a string of sexual assault allegations dating back decades — and the former leader immediately rejected the verdict as a "disgrace."

Carroll, 79, sued Trump last year, alleging that he raped her in the changing room of the luxury Bergdorf Goodman store on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue in 1996.

New York jury finds Donald Trump liable for sexually abusing advice columnist E. Jean Carroll in 1996, in a judgment that could haunt ex-US president as he campaigns to regain White House. (Photo/Reuters)

The former columnist for Elle magazine also claimed that Trump defamed her when he called her "a complete con job" after she went public with the allegation in 2019.

Trump, the 76-year-old frontrunner for the Republican nomination in next year's presidential election, called her case a "hoax" and "a lie."

The jury determined that Carroll had proved sexual abuse — effectively sexual contact without consent — by a preponderance of the evidence and awarded her $2 million.

The six men and three women on the jury also said Trump should pay Carroll nearly $3 million for defamation.

Following the verdict, Carroll left the Manhattan federal court smiling but did not speak to reporters.

"We're very happy," said her lawyer, Roberta Kaplan.

Trump slammed the outcome on his social media platform Truth Social.

"I have absolutely no idea who this woman is," he wrote, using all capital letters. "This verdict is a disgrace — a continuation of the greatest witch hunt of all time."

'Political endeavour'

Trump's 2024 campaign team said in a statement that the case was a "political endeavour" intended to derail Trump's bid to regain the White House, and that he would appeal.

Carroll told the two-week-long civil trial that the assault had left her feeling "ashamed" and unable to have romantic relationships.

She said it took her more than 20 years to go public because she was "frightened" by Trump.

Her lawyers called to the witness stand two other women who testified that Trump sexually assaulted them decades ago.

Former businesswoman Jessica Leeds said that Trump groped her in the business class section of a flight in the United States in the 1970s.

Journalist Natasha Stoynoff said Trump kissed her without her consent during an interview at his Mar-a-Lago estate in 2005.

Around a dozen women accused Trump of sexual misconduct ahead of the 2016 election that sent him to the White House.

He has denied all the allegations and has never been prosecuted over any of them. No criminal case can stem from Carroll's lawsuit.


Source: TRT World