Trump Ordered to Pay $83m in Defamation Case as Presidential Campaign Faces Setback

NEW YORK – Former President Donald Trump has been ordered to pay more than $83 million in damages to writer E Jean Carroll for defamatory statements he made about her. The verdict, delivered by a federal court jury, marks the first federal court ruling against Trump this year as he campaigns for a return to the White House.

The jury awarded Carroll $65 million in punitive damages and over $18 million in compensatory damages. This comes after Trump was previously found liable for sexual abuse and had smeared Carroll’s sexual assault allegations as false, leading to abusive messages and death threats against her.

The verdict followed a two-week civil trial in a Manhattan federal courtroom, where Trump’s attorneys aggressively argued against Carroll’s case. Throughout the trial, the former president repeatedly attacked and potentially defamed Carroll in press conferences and posts on his social media platform, Truth Social.

However, US District Judge Lewis Kaplan barred Trump and his attorneys from disputing the facts of the case. These facts include the sexual abuse allegations and Trump’s denial of assaulting Carroll. This trial builds upon a previous one where a jury found Trump liable for sexual abuse and defamation and awarded Carroll $5 million.

Despite the 2021 verdict, Trump has continued to make potentially defamatory remarks about Carroll. As the verdict was read, Carroll showed emotion, turning her head towards the jury and smiling. The unanimous decision left Carroll and her legal team feeling emotional, as they hugged and cried after the dismissal.

In contrast, Trump had left the courtroom moments earlier, accompanied by his legal team. His attorney, Alina Habba, referred to the jury as “ridiculous” and declared their intention to appeal the verdict. She emphasized their commitment to fighting for First Amendment rights and the right to defend oneself against false accusations.

Throughout the trial, Trump’s behavior irked the judge, who scolded both him and his attorney for speaking out improperly in court. Trump briefly took the witness stand, affirming his previous statements in a deposition. However, Habba’s argument that Carroll actively sought attention and comments from Trump did not resonate with the jury.

Trump is expected to appeal the verdict, as it adds to his growing list of legal issues. He faces 91 criminal charges and a significant lawsuit targeting his family business and real estate empire. A New York judge is also expected to deliver a judgment soon in another civil trial against the Trump Organization, which could result in fines of up to $370 million.

This ruling represents a blow to Trump’s legal battles and may have significant implications for his political career. As he continues to vie for the Republican nomination for president, he portrays himself as a victim of a baseless conspiracy theory against him. The consequences of this verdict will undoubtedly reverberate in the ongoing legal challenges he faces.