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Jury finds Trump sexually abused Carroll, awards $5 million in civil trial

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Donald Trump has been cleared of rape, but found liable of sexual abuse in the battery and defamation trial brought before a jury by writer E. Jean Carroll. She has been awarded $5 million in damages. Because this is a civil trial, and not a criminal one, Trump faces no jail time. 

The jury of six men and three women took less than three hours to deliberate on April 9 in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Their identities have remained anonymous to lawyers and the public. 

The panel was tasked with considering Carroll’s allegations that Trump raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman Lingerie department store dressing room during the spring of 1996, and then defamed her in a social media post last October. Trump denied the allegations, but now a jury has found him liable of sexual abuse and defamation. 

Carroll, 79, filed the lawsuit last November under the “New York State Adult Survivors Act,” a state bill which opened a look-back window for sexual assault allegations with long-expired statutes of limitation. 

Carroll, who was in the front row at court on April 9, took the witness stand during the two-week trial. So did two women who testified she had told them right after the alleged incident that Trump raped her. 

Before deliberations, Judge Lewis Kaplan gave the panel final instructions and a verdict form. The jury had the option of returning one of several verdicts.

The jury could have found that Trump raped Carroll, or if it didn’t believe evidence proved rape, it could have found Trump responsible for sexual abuse, meaning forcible sexual contact without consent. If the jurors didn’t believe either of those findings, they could have returned a verdict of forcible touching, or simply cleared Trump.

Trump, who leads early polls for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, did not testify during the trial. But portions of his deposition taken last fall by Carroll’s lawyer were played for jurors during the trial, and during closing arguments April 8. 

Carroll described the trial as a moment of satisfaction because she got the opportunity to have her allegations heard before a jury. She had previously told her story in legal filings, media interviews and her 2019 book, but she says the trial has given her a chance to have the legal system hear her claims and render a verdict. 

Trump swiftly reacted to the verdict.

“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 posted on his Truth Social website following the verdict.

Trump is facing numerous other legal and investigative inquiries as he campaigns for another term in the White House. Trump has denied wrongdoing in all matters, saying that his investigators and critics are politically biased.

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DONALD TRUMP HAS BEEN CLEARED OF RAPE, BUT FOUND GUILTY ON SEXUAL ABUSE IN THE BATTERY AND DEFAMATION TRIAL BROUGHT BEFORE A JURY BY WRITER E. JEAN CARROLL. SHE’S BEEN AWARDED FIVE-MILLION IN DAMAGES. 

BECAUSE THIS IS A CIVIL TRIAL, NOT A CRIMINAL ONE, TRUMP FACES NO JAIL TIME. 

 

THE JURY OF SIX MEN AND THREE WOMEN TOOK LESS THAN THREE HOURS TO DELIBERATE ON APRIL 9 IN THE U.S. DISTRICT COURT IN MANHATTAN. THEIR IDENTITIES HAVE REMAINED ANONYMOUS TO LAWYERS AND THE PUBLIC. 

 

THE PANEL WAS TASKED WITH CONSIDERING CARROLL’S ALLEGATIONS THAT TRUMP RAPED HER IN A BERGDORF GOODMAN LINGERIE DEPARTMENT DRESSING ROOM IN THE SPRING OF 1996, AND THEN DEFAMED HER IN A SOCIAL MEDIA POST LAST OCTOBER. TRUMP DENIED THE ALLEGATIONS. 

 

CARROLL, 79, FILED THE LAWSUIT LAST NOVEMBER UNDER THE “NEW YORK STATE ADULT SURVIVORS ACT,” A STATE BILL WHICH OPENED A LOOK-BACK WINDOW FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT ALLEGATIONS WITH LONG-EXPIRED STATUTES OF LIMITATION. 

 

CARROLL, WHO WAS IN THE FRONT ROW AT COURT ON APRIL 9, TOOK THE WITNESS STAND DURING THE TWO-WEEK TRIAL. SO DID TWO WOMEN WHO TESTIFIED SHE HAD TOLD THEM RIGHT AFTER THE ALLEGED INCIDENT THAT TRUMP RAPED HER. 

 

BEFORE DELIBERATIONS, JUDGE LEWIS KAPLAN GAVE THE PANEL FINAL INSTRUCTIONS AND A VERDICT FORM. THE JURY HAD THE OPTION OF RETURNING ONE OF SEVERAL VERDICTS. IT COULD HAVE FOUND THAT TRUMP RAPED CARROLL, OR IF IT DIDN’T BELIEVE EVIDENCE PROVED RAPE, IT COULD HAVE FOUND TRUMP RESPONSIBLE FOR SEXUAL ABUSE, MEANING FORCIBLE SEXUAL CONTACT WITHOUT CONSENT. IF THE JURORS DIDN’T BELIEVE EITHER OF THOSE FINDINGS, THEY COULD HAVE RETURNED A VERDICT OF FORCIBLE TOUCHING, OR SIMPLY, CLEAR TRUMP ALL TOGETHER. 

 

TRUMP, WHO LEADS EARLY POLLS FOR THE 2024 REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION, DID NOT TESTIFY DURING THE TRIAL. BUT PORTIONS OF HIS DEPOSITION TAKEN LAST FALL BY CARROLL’S LAWYER WERE PLAYED FOR JURORS DURING THE TRIAL, AND DURING CLOSING ARGUMENTS APRIL 8. 

 

CARROLL DESCRIBED THE TRIAL AS A MOMENT OF SATISFACTION BECAUSE SHE GOT THE OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE HER ALLEGATIONS HEARD BEFORE A JURY. SHE HAD PREVIOUSLY TOLD HER STORY IN LEGAL FILINGS, MEDIA INTERVIEWS AND HER 2019 BOOK, BUT SHE SAYS THE TRIAL HAS GIVEN HER A CHANCE TO HAVE HER LEGAL SYSTEM HEAR HER CLAIMS AND RENDER A VERDICT. 

 

TRUMP IS FACING NUMEROUS OTHER LEGAL AND INVESTIGATIVE INQUIRIES AS HE CAMPAIGNS FOR ANOTHER TERM IN THE WHITE HOUSE. TRUMP HAS DENIED WRONGDOING IN ALL MATTERS, SAYING THAT HIS INVESTIGATORS AND CRITICS ARE POLITICALLY BIASED.