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HomeUSJury Finds Trump Sexually Abused Woman Decades Ago, Awards E. Jean Carroll...

Jury Finds Trump Sexually Abused Woman Decades Ago, Awards E. Jean Carroll $5 Million

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Wikimedia Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America

A federal jury in New York on Tuesday awarded a onetime magazine advice columnist $5 million after concluding Donald Trump was liable for sexually abusing her 20 years before he became a U.S. president and then defamed her by dismissing the encounter as a “hoax.”

The nine-member jury — six men and three women — reached its decision after three hours of deliberation, the first time Trump has faced a trial to hold him accountable for widespread allegations over many years from women accusing him of unwanted sexual advances.

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The jury rejected the claim by E. Jean Carroll, now 79, that Trump raped her in the dressing room of an upscale department store in New York sometime in 1996. But it concluded that he sexually abused her, awarding her $2 million on that allegation.

It awarded Carroll another $3 million for Trump’s repeated claims publicly and on his social media accounts that her allegations were “a scam” and “a complete con job.”

Carroll emerged from the courthouse smiling but did not stop to talk to a gaggle of news reporters.

A woman yelled to her, “You’re so brave and beautiful,” to which Carroll said, “Thank you, thank you so much.”

Later, she said in a statement, “I filed this lawsuit against Donald Trump to clear my name and to get my life back. 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.”

‘Bogus case’

Trump slammed the decision, insisting he is the subject of a witch hunt.

“This verdict is a disgrace — a continuation of the greatest witch hunt of all time,” the former president posted, using all capital letters, on his Truth Social media platform.

“I have absolutely no idea who this woman is,” he said of Carroll.

The Trump campaign promoting his 2024 run for the Republican presidential nomination said, “Make no mistake, this entire bogus case is a political endeavor targeting President Trump because he is now an overwhelming front-runner to be once again elected president of the United States.”

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Trump defense lawyer Joseph Tacopina said the former president would appeal the outcome, with the lawyer adding that he believes there are “plenty of issues” on which to try to overturn the verdict.

Tacopina said he does not believe Trump can get a fair trial in New York, which, even though Trump grew up and lived in the city for decades, voted overwhelmingly against him in his two previous campaigns for the White House.

Trump lost his 2020 reelection bid to Democrat Joe Biden and now is facing several criminal investigations stemming from his efforts to overturn that election outcome and his retention of classified documents from his presidency at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

But the allegations made by Carroll were adjudicated in a civil, not criminal case, and as a result carried no threat of a conviction or imprisonment for the 76-year-old Trump.

Instead, the jury had to decide by a unanimous vote whether there was a preponderance of evidence to believe Carroll’s contention that after a chance encounter with Trump at Bergdorf Goodman, he lured her into a dressing room in the lingerie department, quickly pinned her against a wall, pulled down her tights, opened his pants, and sexually assaulted her.

Two testify Trump assaulted them

Trump did not appear in the courtroom to hear Carroll’s account nor was he required to. Two other women testified on her behalf that Trump assaulted them decades ago in similar fashion: A onetime stock broker said he groped her in the first-class cabin of a New York-bound flight, and a journalist alleged that he suddenly started kissing her at Mar-a-Lago while she was there to report a story for People magazine on the first anniversary of his marriage to his third wife, former first lady Melania Trump.

Tacopina called no defense witnesses in the case and instead tried to chip away at Carroll’s account of the incident, noting that she could not remember the exact date the attack occurred, never reported it to police at the time nor went to a hospital for treatment, and only first made her allegation public in a 2019 memoir.

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“It’s the most ridiculous, disgusting story. It’s just made up,” Tacopina told the jurors in his closing argument on Monday. Earlier, as the case opened two weeks ago, Tacopina said, “There are no witnesses to call to prove a negative” and that jurors would have to “believe the unbelievable” to rule in favor of Carroll, who sought a retraction of Trump’s denial of the incident and unspecified monetary damages.

On the witness stand, Carroll gave a searing account of her encounter with Trump, even as she acknowledged she could not precisely pinpoint the date it occurred, although trial testimony indicated it might have been in the spring of 1996 on an early Thursday evening when the store was open later for shoppers.

Carroll testified that Trump used his weight to pin her against the dressing room enclosure.

“I was pushing him back,” she said. “I was almost too frightened to think.”

“His fingers went into my vagina, which was extremely painful,” Carroll said. Then, she said, he inserted his penis, before she said she used her knee to push him away and fled.

She said that she was so traumatized by the incident that “it left me unable to ever have a romantic life again.”

 

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A post shared by E. Jean Carroll (@ejeancarroll1)

In a taped video deposition from last October that Carroll’s lawyers showed jurors, Trump claimed that he would not have attacked Carroll, once an Indiana University cheerleader and beauty queen at the school, because she was not his type. But he undercut his claim when he was shown a picture of himself with Carroll at a New York social event in the 1970s: He misidentified her as his second wife, Marla Maples, while acknowledging all three of his wives were the type of women he was attracted to.

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Carroll’s lawyers also showed jurors the 2005 video from the celebrity TV show “Access Hollywood,” in which Trump claimed that women allowed him to start kissing them and grabbing them by their genitals because he was a star.

Carroll lawyer Roberta Kaplan said Trump may not have appeared in court to testify in the case, but contended in her closing statement to the jurors that the videotape showed how he treated women.

“What is he doing here?” Kaplan asked jurors. “He is telling you in his own words his modus operandi, his M.O. … he kissed them without their consent. The evidence shows overwhelmingly he followed this playbook and in the dressing room … grabbed” Carroll and assaulted her.

UPDATE 

Biden administration adds 253,000 jobs beating expectations, unemployment lowest in 53 years, hourly earnings rise

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