Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Jury Holds Trump Accountable for Sexual Abuse, Awards Accuser $5 Million

 Jury Holds Trump Accountable for Sexual Abuse, Awards Accuser $5 Million

In a significant legal development, a jury has found Donald Trump liable for sexually abusing advice columnist E. Jean Carroll in 1996 and has ordered him to pay $5 million in damages. This judgment could have profound implications for the former president as he pursues a campaign to regain the presidency.

The verdict, although not unanimous, brings a sense of vindication to Carroll, whose allegations had been ridiculed and dismissed by Trump for many years. While the jury did not support Carroll's claim of rape, they found Trump responsible for a lesser degree of sexual assault. The decision further adds to Trump's legal troubles, compounding his existing challenges.

As the verdict was announced in a federal courtroom in New York City, Carroll acknowledged it with a nod and expressed her gratitude towards her supporters by hugging them and smiling through tears. After the courtroom cleared, Carroll's laughter and tears could be heard echoing.

In addition to holding Trump accountable for sexual assault, the jury also found him liable for defaming Carroll after she publicly made her allegations. Trump chose not to attend the civil trial and was absent when the verdict was read.

Responding to the judgment, Trump took to his social media platform and issued a statement, once again denying any knowledge of Carroll and describing the verdict as a "disgrace" and "a continuation of the greatest witch hunt of all time." He vowed to appeal the decision.

Trump's lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, greeted Carroll and her lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, with handshakes and hugs following the announcement of the verdict. Speaking to reporters outside the courthouse, Tacopina expressed his perplexity at the jury's decision to reject the rape claim while still holding Trump responsible for sexual assault, calling it "perplexing" and "strange."

He defended Trump's absence from the trial, stating that it would have turned into a circus and that his presence would have further fueled the media frenzy. Tacopina emphasized Trump's repeated denial, saying, "What more can you say other than 'I didn't do it.' And he said that on the road."

In a written statement released after leaving the courthouse without speaking, Carroll expressed her motive for suing Trump, stating that she sought to "clear my name and to get my life back." She regarded the verdict as a victory not only for herself but for all women who have suffered because they were not believed.

Roberta Kaplan, in a written statement, expressed her hope that the outcome of this case would demonstrate that nobody, including the president of the United States, is above the law.

The implications of this verdict on Trump's third presidential bid remain unclear. Despite facing numerous controversies in the past, Trump has managed to maintain a strong position among GOP contenders, with few political consequences resulting from previous incidents such as the infamous "Access Hollywood" tape or his indictment in New York.

Following the announcement of the verdict, Trump's fellow Republican candidates remained largely silent, wary of alienating his supporters, who play a crucial role in winning the presidential nomination. Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, one of the few vocal Trump critics in the race, characterized the verdict as "another example of the indefensible behavior of Donald Trump."

Jury finds Trump liable for sexual abuse, awards accuser $5M

E. Jean Carroll was one of over a dozen women who have accused Trump of sexual assault or harassment. She publicly revealed her allegations in 2019, claiming that Trump had raped her in the dressing room of a high-end Manhattan department store.

Trump vehemently denied the accusation, asserting that he never encountered Carroll at the store and did not know her. He referred to her as a "nut job" who fabricated a false story to promote her memoir.

During the trial, Carroll provided several days of candid and occasionally emotional testimony.

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