Trump loses federal case

E. Jean Carroll awarded five million dollars in damages in defamation and battery case



E. Jean Carroll and her legal team arrive at the Southern District of New York Court early on Tuesday, May 9, 2023, in New York. (Luiz C. Ribeiro/N.Y. Daily News/TNS)

Story by Kailyn Williams, Sports Editor

E. Jean Carroll filed a lawsuit against Donald J. Trump for battery and defamation. As of May 9, 2023, a federal jury found him liable, awarding Carroll five million dollars in damages and making Trump the first former president to lose a case of this stature.

Scared that the blame will fall into their lap and taint their reputation, sexual victims often hide their scars, both mental and physical – even more often when the assailant is a person of power. 

Every now and again we see someone step out from the shadows. We see someone tell their story and hunt for justice. 

Carroll spoke out and told her story, told about her experience with sexual abuse in the spring of 1995/1996. Now, over two decades later, a civil court in New York awarded her her justice. 

Carroll first spoke about her altercation with former forty-fifth president Donald J. Trump in an excerpt from her book, “What Do We Need Men For”, appearing on The Cut (New York magazine) on June 21, 2019. In the excerpt, Carroll writes that Trump recognized her as the “advice lady”, referring to her small talk show, “Ask E. Jean”. He then asked her to try on a lingerie bodysuit for a gift, she then stated that Trump raped her in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman. 

The excerpt features an image of Carroll standing and laughing with her then husband, John Johnson, along with Trump and his then wife, Ivanka Trump, from 1987. 

After the allegations came to light, Trump released multiple statements denying the claims, stating that he “had no idea who she was”.

“I don’t know anything about her. She’s made this charge against others… you can’t do that for the sake of publicity,” Trump told the press as he exited the White House June 22, 2019. “It’s a totally false accusation. I have absolutely no idea who she is.”

“This is what happens to women who come forward,” Carroll stated in an interview with New York Times

In Nov. of 2019, Carroll filed a defamation suit against Trump, stating in the lawsuit that his refutes to her claims caused her emotional pain and suffering… as well as injury to her reputation, honor and dignity.

May 24, 2022, Kathy Hochul, governor of New York, signed a legislation called the Adult Survivors Act. The act stated that a one year window, beginning six months from the signing, would allow survivors of sexual assault to sue for any sexual offense that occurred while over the age of 18, regardless of the statute limitations. 

With that, Nov. 24, 2022, six months from the initial signing, Carroll filed a second claim against Trump, this time alleging defamation as well as battery.

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.

— E. Jean Carroll

Trump’s underlying sexual assault severely injured Carroll, causing significant pain and suffering, lasting psychological harms, loss of dignity, and invasion of her privacy. His recent defamatory statement has only added to the harm that Carroll had already suffered,” her new lawsuit read. 

Trump stemmed Carroll’s claim as “a Hoax and a lie” in a post Oct. of 2022 on the social media platform he created, Truth Social. “And, while I am not supposed to say it, I will. This woman is not my type!” he went on.

The statements made by Trump, similar to the one’s made in 2019, gave Carroll a basis to sue for defamation on. 

“Trump’s false, insulting, and defamatory October 12 statement about Carroll—and his actual malice in making that statement—is fully consistent with his tried-and-true playbook for responding to credible public reports that he sexually assaulted women,” the lawsuit read.

A trial began on April 25, 2023, in a federal courtroom in Manhattan, New York.  

Both the plaintiff and the defendant made closing remarks on May 8, 2023. The jury deliberated for hardly three hours, bringing their unanimous verdict on May 9. 

The Manhattan federal jury of six men and three women unanimously found Trump liable for both defamation as well as battery, stating he was not guilty for rape but guilty of sexual assault. 

Carroll failed to prove that Trump did in fact rape her nearly 30 years ago, however, they were able to find Trump guilty of sexual assault, allowing them to hold him liable for battery. 

While there have been a large number of women to claim sexual assault by the former president, Carroll’s case is the only case so far to be argued successfully in front of a jury. 

Trump did not appear in court, as defendants are not required to do so,though, he took to Truth Social stating that the verdict was a “total disgrace”, standing firmly on his claim that he did not know Ms. Carroll. 

Trump’s lawyer, Joe Tacopina, told reporters outside the courthouse May 9 that he and Trump would appeal the claim.