A New York jury on Tuesday found former US President Donald Trump liable for sexually abusing writer E. Jean Carroll in a Manhattan department store in the 1990s, but not liable for her alleged rape.
The jury awarded her $5 million in damages for her battery and defamation claims.
Asked on their verdict sheet if Carroll, 79, had proven “by a preponderance of the evidence” that “Mr. Trump raped Ms. Carroll,” the nine-person jury checked the box that said “no.”
Asked if Carroll had proven “by a preponderance of the evidence” that “Mr. Trump sexually abused Ms. Carroll,” the jury checked the box that said “yes.” Both allegations were elements of Carroll’s battery claim.
The six men and three women also found Trump had defamed her by calling her claims a “hoax” and “a con job.”
Carroll claimed Trump sexually assaulted her in the middle of the 1990s in the Bergdorf Goodman department store. When he refuted her claim, claimed she wasn’t his type, and implied she made up the story to increase book sales, he defamed her.
All wrongdoing has been refuted by Trump.
Under the “New York State Adult Survivors Act,” a state law that established a look-back window for sexual assault claims like Carroll’s with long-expired statutes of limitations, Carroll filed the complaint last November.
Trump stayed away from the trial. He did not have to show up in court for the trial or any other hearings, and he had the same right not to testify in his own defence as any other defendant in a civil matter.
Trump, a 2024 presidential candidate, has consistently denied Carroll’s claims. The jury verdict carries no criminal implications.
The legal standard for liability in the civil case — the preponderance of the evidence — was not as high as in criminal cases. The civil benchmark is that it’s more likely than not that something occurred, while the standard for convictions in criminal cases is proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.