In a landmark ruling on Friday, columnist E. Jean Carroll secured a substantial legal triumph as a jury ordered former President Donald Trump to pay a staggering $83.3 million in damages. This decision came in a high-profile defamation case stemming from Trump's repeated denials of Carroll's allegations that he sexually assaulted her in a department store during the 1990s.
Celebrating the verdict, Carroll expressed, "This is a great victory for every woman who has courageously stood up after being knocked down, and a resounding defeat for every bully who attempts to silence women." She extended her gratitude to her attorney, Roberta Kaplan, for steering her to this significant win.
Kaplan, reflecting on the verdict, highlighted its broader implication, emphasizing that it sends a clear message that nobody, regardless of their wealth, fame, or political stature, is beyond the reach of the law. "Confronting someone like Donald Trump, who prioritizes wealth, fame, and power over legal respect, requires immense courage and bravery.
It takes a person of E. Jean Carroll's caliber. We are profoundly thankful to the jury for upholding justice and the rule of law," Kaplan remarked.
Carroll's Repeat Triumph
This verdict is not Carroll's first legal victory over Trump.
The former president was previously directed to compensate Carroll with $5 million after being deemed liable for sexual abuse and losing another defamation lawsuit against her. The jury, composed of nine members, detailed the compensation breakdown: $11 million for a reputational repair program, $7.3 million in other compensatory damages, and a hefty $65 million in punitive damages.
In a dramatic turn of events, Trump, who took the stand as the final witness, abruptly left the courtroom during the closing arguments before the verdict was announced. He has consistently denied the allegations against him.
Reacting to the judgment on his Truth Social platform, Trump fiercely criticized the decision, labeling it as "Absolutely ridiculous!" and a "Biden Directed Witch Hunt." He declared his intention to appeal, condemning the legal system for being used as a political tool and for infringing on First Amendment Rights.
The jury's role was focused solely on assessing damages, as District Judge Lewis Kaplan had already concluded that Trump defamed Carroll. This ruling, therefore, marks a significant moment in legal history, underscoring the power of the judiciary in holding high-profile figures accountable.