A jury in a civil case has found former President Donald Trump guilty of the sexual abuse of E. Jean Carroll, a magazine columnist in a New York department store in the 1990s.
But Trump was found not guilty of raping Carroll in the dressing room of Bergdorf Goodman. The jury also found him liable for defamation for calling the writer’s accusations “a hoax and a lie” and awarded her $5 million for battery and defamation.
It is the first time Trump has been found legally responsible for a sexual assault.
Carroll alleged Trump raped her in the Bergdorf Goodman department store and then defamed her when he denied her claim, said she wasn’t his type, and suggested she made up the story to boost sales of her book.
Trump denied all wrongdoing. He does not face any jail time as a result of the civil verdict.
While the jury found that Trump sexually abused her, sufficient to hold him liable for battery, the jury did not find that Carroll proved he raped her.
Trump did not attend the trial. Like any defendant in a civil case, he was not required to appear in court for trial or any proceedings and has a right not to testify in his own defense.
Carroll called the verdict a victory for her and other victims of abuse.
“I filed this lawsuit against Donald Trump to clear my name and to get my life back,” she said in a statement. “Today, the world finally knows the truth. This victory is not just for me but for every woman who has suffered because she was not believed.”
Carroll’s lead attorney, Roberta Kaplan also released a statement saying, “No one is above the law, not even a former President of the United States.”
Trump denies sexual abuse: “I have no idea who this woman is”
After the verdict, the former President, posted on his social media platform Truth Social in capital letters: “I have absolutely no idea who this woman is. This verdict is a disgrace – a continuation of the greatest witch hunt of all time!”
The trial saw a tense cross-examination between Carroll and Trump’s attorneys.
Her legal team called 11 witnesses to corroborate her claims that Trump had assaulted her in the lingerie department of the luxury store in 1995 or 1996.
They included two women who also say they were sexually assaulted by Trump decades ago. One woman told jurors that Trump groped her during a flight in the 1970s. Another woman said that Trump had forcibly kissed her while she was interviewing him for an article she was writing in 2005.
On the stand, Carroll described in graphic detail what she alleges happened in the store and the trauma she says she has endured as a result. “I’m here because Donald Trump raped me and when I wrote about it, he lied and said it didn’t happen,” she told the court.
Trump called no witnesses and appeared only in a video of a deposition that was played for jurors in which he denied rape.
“It’s the most ridiculous, disgusting story,” Trump said in the footage. “It’s just made up.”