Jury Orders Donald Trump to Pay $126 Million in Defamation Case

Image source: 9 News

In a significant legal development, a jury has ruled that former President Donald Trump must pay a substantial $126 million in damages for defamation to advice columnist E. Jean Carroll. The decision comes as a result of Carroll’s claims that Trump harmed her reputation by labeling her a liar after she accused him of sexual assault.

The verdict was delivered by a seven-man, two-woman jury, and Trump, who had been present during the trial, left the courtroom abruptly during closing arguments by Carroll’s lawyer. Carroll, visibly pleased, received the news with a smile, while Trump, who had already left the building in his motorcade, dismissed the decision as “absolutely ridiculous” in a subsequent statement. He expressed his intention to appeal, asserting that the legal system was being wielded as a political weapon.

This marks the second time within nine months that a jury has rendered a verdict related to Carroll’s allegations of a violent encounter with Trump in 1996. In May, a different jury awarded Carroll $5 million, finding Trump responsible for sexually abusing her and defaming her by claiming she fabricated the assault. Trump, who skipped the first trial, later regretted not attending and insisted on testifying in the second trial. However, his time on the witness stand was limited, and he left the court, stating, “this is not America.”

Carroll’s legal team had sought $24 million in compensatory damages, along with a high punitive award. The jury in this case was tasked with determining the amount Trump should pay for two statements he made during his presidency, responding to reporters’ questions after excerpts from Carroll’s memoir were published. Importantly, the jury was not asked to reconsider whether the alleged sexual assault had occurred.

As Trump navigates the legal challenges, including this defamation case, he continues his pursuit of the Republican presidential nomination for a third consecutive time. Despite the lack of evidence suggesting interference from President Joe Biden or the White House in these legal matters, Trump has framed the proceedings as indicative of a politicized legal system, resonating with his staunch supporters who view the cases skeptically.

Carroll, who testified that Trump’s public statements had led to death threats, sought not only financial compensation but also to restore her damaged reputation. Trump’s lawyer argued against any damages, contending that Carroll had benefited financially and gained the fame she desired through her accusations.

The trial unfolded with dramatic moments, including Trump’s abrupt departure from the courtroom and confrontations with the judge. Throughout the proceedings, Trump sought to portray himself as a victim of a “witch hunt” and a “con job.” The jury’s decision adds another layer to the legal challenges faced by the former president as he navigates his political ambitions and legal vulnerabilities.