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Trump Ordered To Pay $83m In Damages In Defamation Trial

 Olushola Bello

Former President Donald Trump

Donald Trump has been ordered to pay a total of $83.3m (£65.6m) for defaming the writer E Jean Carroll while he was president

The jury in his defamation trial said he must pay $18.3m in compensation damages for emotional and reputational harm, and $65m in punitive damages

According to BBC, Carroll called it a “huge defeat for every bully who has tried to keep a woman down”. Trump called the outcome “Absolutely ridiculous!”

The former president was in court on Friday for closing arguments, but was not in the room when the verdict was read out

A jury in a previous civil fraud trial found Carroll was sexually abused by Trump in the 1990s, but this case was about comments he made in 2019 while he was president

A judge had already ruled Trump’s statements were defamatory and the jury’s job was to decide how much he should pay. Trump denied any wrongdoing

The case is one of several legal issues unfolding against Trump while he campaigns for the Republican presidential nomination

Responding, E Jean Carroll said in a statement: “This is a great victory for every woman who stands up when she’s been knocked down, and a huge defeat for every bully who has tried to keep a woman down.”

Her attorney, Robbie Kaplan, thanked the jury “for standing up for E Jean and the rule of law”.

“Today’s verdict proves that the law applies to everyone in our country, even the rich, even the famous, even former presidents,” Kaplan said in a statement.

“There is a way to stand up to someone like Donald Trump who cares more about wealth, fame, and power than respecting the law. Standing up to a bully takes courage and bravery; it takes someone like E Jean Carroll.”

Donald Trump testified on Thursday in the defamation trial brought by writer E Jean Carroll, but his much-anticipated time on the stand was kept brief.

 The former president – who has already been found to have defamed Ms Carroll for comments he made about her in 2019 – was under strict rules on what he could say.

 But he told the jury that he stood “100%” by a deposition given in 2022 in which he strongly denied her sexual assault allegations and called her a “whack job”.

 Other comments he made were struck from the record by the judge for breaching the restrictions, which took significant time to agree before he took the stand.

 Mr Trump has been testing the limits of the courts in his various legal cases that have become intertwined with his re-election campaign.

It’s a strategy that keeps his political base invested and tuned in, and gives him considerable press coverage as he looks set to become the Republican presidential nominee.

A related civil trial last year found that he had sexually assaulted Ms Carroll, a magazine columnist, in a New York department store in the 1990s and pay her about $5m in damages. The jury also found him liable for defamation for calling her accusations a lie.

 Despite that ruling, he continues to regularly deny the attack in public comments.

 This civil trial focuses on separate defamatory comments Mr Trump made about Ms Carroll in 2019 while in the White House, with the jury considering how much Trump must pay in damages.

 Closing arguments will take place on Friday and a ruling could swiftly follow.

 Haggling over rules for testimony

 Mr Trump’s continuing denials of Ms Carroll’s sexual assault allegations – despite what a court already found – are the reason why he was under severe limits on what he could say in his testimony in the New York court on Thursday.

 The legal complications meant the judge and lawyers spent much more time arguing about what Mr Trump would be allowed to talk about compared to his four minutes of testimony.

 Judge Kaplan said the first trial established the facts and the only issue remaining was how much Mr Trump must pay Ms Carroll, if anything. The Republican frontrunner was told he would not be allowed to deny that he sexually assaulted Ms Carroll.

 The strict terms made it impossible for Mr Trump to launch into a monologue or to campaign from the witness stand.

 It’s perhaps a lesson learned from one of Mr Trump’s other legal battles. In a New York civil fraud trial earlier this month, Mr Trump was initially told he could not give his closing argument. The judge in that case asked whether Mr Trump would keep it short and stick to the matters of the case.

 How big are Donald Trump’s legal problems?

 Mr Trump responded with a six-minute monologue in which he argued he was a victim of political persecution.

 The defamation trial on Thursday gave the 77-year-old much less leeway.

 Asked if he stood by his deposition, Mr Trump said: “100% yes.”

 His lawyer Alina Habba then asked if he denied Ms Carroll’s accusation. “That’s exactly right, yes I did,” he responded.

 He went on to say “she said something that I considered a false accusation – totally false”.

 But Judge Kaplan quickly cut Mr Trump off and told the jury to ignore that last statement.

 Finally, Ms Habba asked if her client had ever instructed anyone to hurt Ms Carroll, to which Mr Trump said: “No, I just wanted to defend myself, my family and frankly, the presidency.” The judge again ordered the latter part stricken from the record.

 E Jean Carroll trial: Judge threatens to remove Trump from court Jury finds Trump sexually abused writer in NY store

And with that, the testimony was over. As he left the courtroom Mr Trump was heard saying: “It’s not America. This is not America.”

Earlier in the day, Judge Kaplan warned him to stop interrupting proceedings by “talking loudly”. That included a moment when he was heard muttering under his breath that he had “never met this woman [Ms Carroll]”.

 Donald Trump Sued As New York Adult Survivors Act Takes Effect

Writer E Jean Carroll has sued Donald Trump in the US state of New York for allegedly raping her in the 1990s.

Ms Carroll, 78, is among the first to sue under the Adult Survivors Act, which came into effect on Thursday.

The state law allows a one-year period for victims to file sexual assault lawsuits in New York over claims that would have otherwise exceeded statute limitations.

The former president has denied the allegations against him.

Ms Carroll alleges the attack took place in a New York luxury department store dressing room 27 years ago.

The Adult Survivors Act allows victims to come forward if the sexual assault occurred when they were over the age of 18 and took place on a date that exceeds time limits that exists on most felonies.

It is modelled after the state’s recent Child Abuse Act, which applied to victims who were abused as minors.

The Child Abuse Act, which came into effect in 2019, allowed a two-year period for victims to come forward. Around 11,000 lawsuits were filed in New York against churches, hospitals, schools, camps and other institutions under that law.

Ms Carroll has also sued former President Trump for defamation after he accused her of lying when she first made her allegations public in 2019. Mr Trump has called Ms Carroll’s claims “fiction”. A civil trial for that case is scheduled for 6 February.

In a statement, Ms Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, said the new lawsuit filed on Thursday is intended to hold Mr Trump accountable for the alleged assault.

Alina Habba, a lawyer for Mr Trump, told US media that, while she respects and admires individuals that come forward “this case is unfortunately an abuse of the purpose of this Act” and “runs the risk of delegitimising the credibility of actual victims”.

Others are also planning to file lawsuits under the new law.

This includes a planned class action lawsuit against Robert Hadden, a former gynaecologist at hospitals tied to New York-Presbyterian and Columbia University, who has been accused by dozens of patients of sexual abuse.

Mr Hadden was convicted in 2016 on sex-related charges in state court, but has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of abusing female patients over two decades.

Advocates for survivors of sex abuse believe the legislation provides an opportunity for people to come forward who may not have done so previously due to trauma or fear of retaliation.

Several other states have also extended or temporarily eliminated their statues of limitation on sex crimes in the wake of the #MeToo movement in 2018, including New Jersey, California, Arizona and Montana.

Source: BBC

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