New York, NY — Former President Donald Trump was found liable for sexual abuse in a civil case against magazine writer E. Jean Carroll. In total, the jury’s deliberation lasted under three hours.
On top of their decision to hold the former President liable for sexual assault, Trump was found liable for defamation. The news is amidst another criminal case for over 30 counts of election finance fraud concerning Trump’s hush payments to pornstar Stormy Daniels.
The assault occurred in 1996 in a New York department store where Carroll claimed that Trump attacked her in a dressing room after a brief and flirtatious conversation.
For years, Carroll did not go public about the attack, stating it was out of fear of retaliation from Trump. However, shortly after the attack, Carroll disclosed the abuse to close friends. Two of Carroll’s friends testified in the civil case. Then, in a 2019 book, she revealed the assault and eventually filed a lawsuit against the former President.
Trump, however, refused to testify, repeatedly using his Truth Social account to decry the accusation as a falsehood and witchhunt. Immediately following the decision, Trump posted on Truth Social:
Liable vs. Guilty
Given Carroll’s case was civil and not criminal, the jury was asked to find Trump either “Liable or “Not Liable” for the charges brought against him. The judge instructed the jury to decide, based on the evidence and witness testimonies, deciding if there was enough substance to conclude that Trump had “sexually assaulted,” “raped,” or “forcibly touched” Carroll. Additionally, the jury was asked to determine if Trump’s public accusations on social media were at all “false” or “defamatory.”
Experts concluded that the sum of Trump’s attacks against Carroll amounted to $2.7 million in reputational damage. However, the jury awarded Carroll over $5 million in damages.
Civil vs. Criminal
Trump could not be tried in a criminal suit because the statute of limitations on the attack passed long ago in the State of New York. However, Carroll obtained the ability to sue Trump in a civil case because of the recently passed “Adult Survivors Act.” This legislation provided victims a one-year window to sue alleged attackers.