E. Jean Carroll (C) walks out of a federal court, Manhattan, New York, December 9, 2022 (Seth Wenig/AP)
UPDATE 1303 GMT:
E. Jean Carroll has spoken about the jury’s verdict, finding Donald Trump liable for $5 million over sexually assaulting and defaming her, on US television on Wednesday morning:
I’m overwhelmed, overwhelmed with joy and happiness and delight for the women in this country….
I didn’t even hear the money. This is not about the money. This is about getting my name back, and that’s what we accomplished.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: A New York jury has found that Donald Trump is liable for the sexual assault of writer E. Jean Carroll in the changing room of a New York department store in 1996.
The jury also found Trump guilty of defamation of Carroll. It awarded the writer $5 million in the civil case: just over $2 million for the sexual assault and almost $3 million for the defamation.
The panel fully accepted Carroll’s story of how Trump accosted her in Bergdorf Goodman on New York’s 5th Avenue, touching and pressing against her in the changing room.
The jury did not find Trump guilty of rape, but only because Carroll testified that she was not sure whether Trump put his fingers or his penis into her.
Under New York State law, rape is defined as penetration by the penis into the vagina.
As the verdict was read, Carroll held the hand of her attorney and smiled. She said simply afterwards, “We’re very happy.”
The writer testified that she had been emotionally broken by the assault, unable to have a relationship with a man since. She said friends dissuaded her from taking action in 1996 because Trump would “bury her”; however, she was encouraged to come forward by the #MeToo movement, including the 16 women who said Trump had sexually accosted or harassed them.
Trump, who had defamed Carroll even during the trial, continued in his response on Tuesday: “I have absolutely no idea who this woman is. The verdict is a disgrace — a continuation of the greatest witch hunt of all time.”
His lawyer Joe Tacopina attacked the jury as biased, issuing a statement that the case was “bogus” and saying the Trump team would appeal and “ultimately win”.
Carroll: “I Lost My Reputation”
But Carroll’s testimony appeared to be decisive. She described how she was initially “delighted” when Trump asked her to help him choose a gift in Bergdorf Goodman on a spring evening.
Trump suggested lingerie and asked Carroll to try on a bodysuit. In the changing room, the situation “turned absolutely dark”: “He immediately shut the door and shoved me up against the wall. He shoved me so hard my head banged. I was extremely confused.”
She explained that Trump compounded the attack when she went public in 2019 about the assault. He tweeted denials, insults, and allegations that she was lying, as the magazine Elle sacked her.
It hit me and it laid me low because I lost my reputation. Nobody looked at me the same. It was gone. Even people who knew me looked at me with pity in their eyes, and the people who had no opinion now thought I was a liar and hated me.
Two days of cross-examination by Tacopina only reinforced Carroll’s account as she remained calm, confident, and credible. Trump added to the defamation by claiming a “made up SCAM” after her first day of testimony.
Asked if she regretted going public with her story, Carroll replied, “I regretted this about 100 times but, in the end, being able to get my day in court finally is everything.”