Trump punished by court for malious defamation of E Jaen Carroll
Donald Trump has been ordered to pay a huge fine of US$83.3 million due to a prolonged and intentional pattern of malicious defamation against E. Jean Carroll. This legal action stems from allegations made by Carroll, and the court has ruled in her favor, deeming Trump’s statements as damaging and intentionally harmful.
In the likely event that Trump decides to contest this judgment through an appeal, he will be required to post a bond. This bond is essentially a financial guarantee, ensuring that he complies with the legal process. The bond amount is expected to be a significant portion of the total $83.3 million fine.
Moreover, it is anticipated that E. Jean Carroll’s legal team will seek a permanent injunction against Donald Trump. This injunction would serve as a court-ordered prohibition, preventing Trump from further engaging in negative and defamatory speech against Carroll.
Violating such an injunction would constitute contempt of court, signaling a disregard for the legal system. If, and more likely when, Trump breaches this order, it would be considered contempt, a serious offense.
WHAT LIES AHEAD?
Trump’s legal team is currently in the process of appealing both the first and second trial verdicts. Despite the setbacks, Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, affirmed their commitment to continue the legal battle, expressing confidence in eventual victory.
Among the key points of contention in the appeals are the argument that Trump had the right to vehemently deny Carroll’s allegations and suggest ulterior motives. Habba emphasized the fundamental right of self-defense, asserting that everyone has the prerogative to protect themselves.
Trump’s lawyers are also challenging Judge Kaplan’s rulings, particularly contesting the decision that the second trial jury need not revisit Trump’s liability for sexual assault and alleging unfair limitations on their statements before the jury.
The appeals will proceed to a panel of judges in New York and could potentially reach the U.S. Supreme Court for consideration.
In the interim, Trump has placed over $5.5 million in an escrow account to potentially cover the initial verdict’s cost while the appeal process unfolds.
WHAT IF TRUMP CONTINUES PUBLICLY DENYING CARROLL’S ALLEGATIONS?
Should Trump persist in publicly asserting that Carroll fabricated the allegations, Carroll may initiate new lawsuits for each instance. Subsequent trials might be necessary, allowing juries to potentially impose additional damages.
While the $88.3 million judgments against Trump are significant, they fall short of some recent defamation cases involving his allies. For instance, Rudy Giuliani was ordered to pay $148 million in a defamation case, and Alex Jones faced $1.5 billion in judgments for promoting a false claim about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
Although Trump, unlike Giuliani and Jones, might possess the financial means to meet such judgments, he still faces potential financial liabilities.
A January 2024 civil fraud trial awaits a verdict, where New York state seeks $370 million in what officials allege were ill-gotten gains from loans and deals, based on financial statements that purportedly exaggerated Trump’s wealth.
With an $88.3 million defamation judgment against him, what unfolds next for Donald Trump?
In just one of the many legal sagas involving Donald Trump, a jury recently rendered an $83.3 million defamation judgment against Trump.
Despite Trump’s prior accusations that Carroll concocted a sexual assault allegation for publicity, the jury found that he had intentionally harmed Carroll’s reputation in 2019. The awarded sum includes $18 million for personal harm compensation and an additional $65 million to penalize Trump and potentially deter future attacks on Carroll via social media.
This judgment follows a previous jury’s decision in May, which held Trump accountable for the alleged 1996 sexual assault in a Manhattan department store dressing room and awarded Carroll $5 million. If both judgments withstand appeal, Trump would be required to pay a total of $88.3 million to Carroll.
Trump and his legal team have expressed their intention to appeal the verdict. The case highlights the long-standing dispute between Trump and Carroll, stemming from her public disclosure of the alleged assault incident while shopping at Bergdorf Goodman in 1996, where she claimed to have encountered Trump. At that time, Carroll was a columnist for Elle magazine and the host of the cable TV talk show “Ask E. Jean.”
In both her court testimony and memoir, Carroll recounted that she and Donald Trump ventured into the lingerie section of a store and then into a dressing room, attempting to persuade each other to try on a lacy item. According to Carroll, once inside the dressing room, Trump forcibly pushed her against a wall, pulled down her tights, and sexually assaulted her. She claimed to have managed to break free and escape.
In 2019, following Carroll’s public revelation of the alleged encounter, Trump, now President, denied knowing her and dismissed her accusation as “totally false,” suggesting her motive was to sell books.
The initial legal battle unfolded when Carroll sued Trump for defamation, asserting that his statements were false and had harmed her reputation. This case faced delays as the legal question emerged regarding whether Trump, in denying the allegations, was fulfilling presidential duties, thus potentially shielding him from liability. Meanwhile, New York amended its law, allowing survivors of sexual abuse to pursue civil suits for past attacks. Carroll took advantage of this change, filing a new claim against Trump, alleging rape, and also suing for statements made post-presidency.
Although Trump wasn’t criminally charged, a civil jury found him liable last year for sexual abuse, even if Carroll had not proven rape by New York’s legal definition. The jury awarded her $2 million for the abuse and nearly $3 million for defamatory comments made by Trump, which were deemed unprotected free speech.
In the aftermath of resolving the primary legal issues, a crucial question lingered: Had E. Jean Carroll suffered additional harm from Donald Trump’s statements while he occupied the White House?
U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan determined that a new trial was necessary to address this specific claim. However, this trial would not revisit the question of whether Trump had assaulted Carroll or whether his statements about her were defamatory. Instead, its focus would be on determining any additional compensation owed to Carroll for remarks made on June 21-22, 2019.
Trump and his legal team expressed dissatisfaction, seeking an opportunity to present a new argument asserting his innocence. Nevertheless, Judge Kaplan ruled that they had already forfeited that opportunity.
“It is a firmly established legal principle in this country that prevents do-overs by disappointed litigants,” Kaplan conveyed to the lawyers on the day of Trump’s testimony in the second trial. “He lost it and he is bound. And the jury will be instructed that, regardless of what he says in court here today, he did it, as far as they’re concerned. That is the law.”