A jury ordered former President Donald Trump to pay about $5 million in damages after finding him liable for battery, sexual abuse, forcible touching, and defamation in a civil lawsuit brought by longtime magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll.
Trump refused to testify under oath in his own defense.
The jury’s verdict comes after Carroll accused Trump of sexually assaulting her in a dressing room at a luxury department store in New York in the 1990s. Caroll said he defamed her after he called her a liar when she later went public with the allegations. Trump chose not to defend himself under oath during the trial.
Carroll, who worked as an advice columnist for Elle magazine, claimed in her book "What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal" that Trump shoved her against the wall of a dressing room and raped her at a luxury department store in New York City in the mid-1990s. Trump denied the allegations, stating that he had never met Carroll and that she was “not his type” and "totally lying" to sell books.
In response, Carroll filed a civil lawsuit against Trump, alleging that his statements had damaged her reputation and caused her emotional distress. She also accused him of sexual abuse, forcible touching, and rape.
In April and May of 2023, Carroll took the stand in a Lower Manhattan courtroom to testify about the trauma of the assault and the pain Trump caused when he accused her of lying about it. Despite the severity of the charges, Trump chose not to defend himself under oath during the trial.
After three hours of deliberation, the jury (composed of 6 men and 3 women) unanimously found Trump liable for sexual abuse, forcible touching, and defamation. Because this was a civil trial, not a criminal trial, Trump faces no jail time. The jury also found there was insufficient proof that Trump raped Carroll.
Trump is still under investigation for attempting to overturn his 2020 loss to President Joe Biden in Georgia; his handling of classified documents and whether he tried to defy a subpoena for them; and any involvement he may have had in the insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021.