Trump ordered to pay $83 million in defamation case

Former US President Donald Trump has been sentenced to pay $83.3 million (€76.7 million) in the defamation trial of columnist E. Jean Carroll. The jury in the civil trial in New York came to their decision on Friday after deliberating for almost three hours – and awarded Carroll significantly more than the ten million dollars in damages demanded by the author for defamatory statements.

Trump described the verdict as “absolutely ridiculous” on his online network Truth Social. The 77-year-old favorite for the Republican presidential nomination announced he would appeal.

Carroll celebrated the verdict as a “great victory for every woman who stands up when she has been pushed down and a great defeat for every bully who has tried to keep a woman down.”

Trump was sentenced, among other things, to pay $7.3 million in compensatory damages and $65 million in so-called punitive damages. The jury found that Trump acted maliciously because he repeatedly denigrated Carroll over the years.

In a first trial last year, Trump was sentenced to five million dollars in damages and compensation for sexual abuse and defamation of the journalist. Carroll had sued Trump twice, which is why there were two lawsuits.

The now 80-year-old accuses Trump of raping her in a dressing room at the New York luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman in 1996. The long-time columnist for “Elle” magazine first made her accusation public in 2019, when Trump was president. The Republican then accused Carroll of lying and said she wasn’t his “type.”

In the years that followed, the 77-year-old repeatedly accused Carroll of inventing the sexual attack – including in a live CNN public conversation in front of an audience of millions shortly after the first verdict in May 2023. He described Carroll as a “crazy person”. The author subsequently updated her lawsuit and demanded even higher damages.

Trump had attended the second libel trial several times, which now ended with the $83 million verdict. The ex-president and promising presidential candidate testified in court on Thursday. Trump was also present on Friday, but stormed out of the courtroom in the meantime.

The ex-president is making his problems with the judiciary a campaign issue with four indictments and portrays himself as the victim of a “witch hunt” by President Joe Biden’s Democrats, who, in his words, want to prevent his return to the White House. Even after the verdict on Friday, Trump repeated this accusation.

However, his numerous judicial problems have apparently not harmed Trump politically: The right-wing populist is the overwhelming favorite in the race for the Republican presidential nomination and has clearly won the first two primaries in the states of Iowa and New Hampshire. The primary race is now a duel between Trump and former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, but she is given almost no chance.