Former President Donald Trump has been found guilty of sexually abusing advice columnist E. Jean Carroll. A New York jury delivered the verdict today (May 9) and awarded the plaintiff $5 million.
According to The Associated Press, the jury reached its decision on the first day of its deliberations. Jurors didn’t accept Carroll’s claims that she was raped by the onetime “Apprentice” host, but still found him liable for sexual abuse and for defaming her after she went public with her allegations in 2019.
Trump, who vehemently denied the claims over the years, didn’t appear in the civil trial and wasn’t present when the verdict was read. Carroll, meanwhile, tearfully nodded while it was read aloud. The result was validation for Carroll, who is one of more than a dozen women who accused Trump of sexual assault or harassment.
The ex-president railed against the outcome on his social media site, Truth Social. “I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHO THIS WOMAN IS,” he wrote. “THIS VERDICT IS A DISGRACE — A CONTINUATION OF THE GREATEST WITCH HUNT OF ALL TIME!”
In addition to Carroll’s testimony, jurors also heard from two other women, Jessica Leeds and Natasha Stoynoff, who detailed incidents of sexual harassment dating back to the 1970s. Part of the evidence shown in the case was his infamous 2005 “Access Hollywood” interview that went viral while he was running for president in 2016. In it, he bragged about grabbing women’s genitals.
Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, cited the “Access Hollywood” tape as well as Trump’s own words from his October deposition to build the case against him. “He didn’t even bother to show up here in person,” Kaplan noted, adding that what he said in his deposition and in public statements “actually supports our side of the case.”
“In a very real sense, Donald Trump is a witness against himself,” she continued. “He knows what he did. He knows that he sexually assaulted E. Jean Carroll.”
The one-term president’s legal woes don’t end here. After becoming the first former president to be criminally indicted last month, he still faces investigations in Georgia for purported 2020 election interference as well as special counsels looking into his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection and his mishandling of classified documents.
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