Donald Trump has furiously branded the verdict he sexually abused writer E Jean Carroll part of a “witch hunt”.
The former US President, 76, was ordered to pay $5 million in damages by a jury at a federal court in New York City on Tuesday (09.05.23) over the battery and defamation of Ms Carroll, and in the wake of the decision used his social media app Truth Social to blast the decision as “unfair”.
He thundered in an all-capitalised outpouring: “I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHO THIS WOMAN IS. THIS VERDICT IS A DISGRACE – A CONTINUATION OF THE GREATEST WITCH HUNT OF ALL TIME!”Trump later added: “VERY UNFAIR TRIAL!”Ms Carroll had left court smiling after the verdict, and was reportedly heard saying to the crowd outside: “We’re very happy.”Her attorney Roberta Kaplan later issued a statement calling the verdict a “victory not only for E Jean Caroll, but for democracy itself, and for all survivors everywhere”.
Trump had been accused of the sexual assault of Ms Carroll, 79, at a department store and the subsequent defamation of the writer by saying she had made up her claim.
A jury of six men and three women spent three hours deciding the civil claims of battery and defamation in the case, and also found Trump defamed Ms Carroll in an October 2022 social media post in which he called her allegations a “con job”.
The jury told Trump to pay a total of $5 million in damages – $2 million for the battery claim and $20,000 in punitive damages, and for defamation, $2.7 million in compensation and $280,000 in punitive damages.
Before the verdict there was a heated exchange in court over a social media post by Trump in which he claimed he had not been allowed to “defend himself”.
Trump was allowed to testify but his lawyers did not file an application by the deadline which was set by the judge at 5pm on Sunday.
On Truth Social, Trump said: “Waiting for a jury decision on a False Accusation where I, despite being a current political candidate and leading all others in both parties, am not allowed to speak or defend myself.”He vowed he would “appeal” against the “Unconstitutional silencing of me, as a candidate, no matter the outcome!”
Ms Carroll’s lawyer said it was a “troublesome” post and asked Judge Lewis Kaplan to tell the jury Trump did have the opportunity to come to court.
The judge said: “We’re dealing here with what we’re dealing with,” and said he wanted to make no further comment.