Former President Donald Trump must pay writer E. Jean Carroll over $83 million in damages for repeatedly defaming her, a jury found Friday.
The nine-person jury began deliberations in federal court in New York at 1:40 p.m. ET and reached a verdict in just under three hours.
The award included $11 million for damage to Carroll’s reputation, $7.3 million for emotional harm and other damages, and $65 million in punitive damages.
The decision came after contentious closing arguments that saw Trump storm out of the courtroom. He returned for his own attorney’s closing arguments but left the courthouse at 4 p.m., before the jury returned its verdict.
He posted about it on his social media platform on Truth Social a short time later. “Absolutely ridiculous!” he wrote, adding he would be appealing. “They have taken away all First Amendment Rights. THIS IS NOT AMERICA!”
His attorney, Alina Habba, told reporters afterwards the verdict “reeks” and called the case “a violation of our justice system.”
Carroll did not speak to reporters as she left the courthouse, but later issued a statement that said: “This is a great victory for every woman who stands up when she’s been knocked down, and a huge defeat for every bully who has tried to keep a woman down.”
Her attorney Roberta Kaplan said the “verdict proves that the law applies to everyone in our country, even the rich, even the famous, even former presidents.”
“We thank the jury for standing up for E. Jean and the rule of law,” she added.
Trump had already been found liable for defaming Carroll while he was president by mocking her allegation that he’d sexually abused her, so this jury was only tasked with determining how much she should be paid in damages.
Kaplan had asked the jury for at least $24 million in compensatory damages for the harm Carroll suffered and “lots and lots of money” in punitive damages to stop him from continuing to defame her.
Trump, she said, “thinks the rules don’t apply to him.” “He thinks with his wealth and power he can treat Ms. Carroll how he wants and will suffer no consequences,” she said, noting the number of times he’s continued slamming Carroll publicly since he was first found liable for defaming her last year. She urged the jury “to make him pay for what he has done to E. Jean Carroll.”
She also showed the jury several examples of Trump’s repeated shots at Carroll to reporters and on social media since the $5 million verdict was delivered in the other case last year. While the trial was a break for Covid-related reasons earlier this week, Trump posted about Carroll around three dozen times on his Truth Social website.
Habba maintained in her closing that Carroll “had failed to show she is entitled to any damages at all” because she “actively sought the comments and the attention” she received. She also said Trump was not to blame for the number of threats she received online after she went public. “He has as much control of social media users as he does the weather,” she said.
Habba contended an expert report used by Carroll that said it would cost $7 million to $12 million to repair her reputation had “more holes than Swiss cheese.” The jury awarded Carroll $11 million on that claim.
The trial started on Jan. 16, and Trump was the final witness in the case. He testified for under five minutes.
The verdict is the second for Carroll against Trump. A different jury last year found Trump liable for sexually abusing her in a New York City department store in the 1990s and for defaming her by mocking her claims after he left the White House. They awarded her $5 million in damages, a judgment Trump is appealing.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan — no relation to Carroll’s attorney —found Trump liable for defamation in the current case based on that jury’s findings. That finding barred Trump from testifying that Carroll’s claim was made up, but Trump still managed to do so in his short testimony. “I consider it a false accusation,” he said.