Trump defamation damages trial: Jury awards E. Jean Carroll $83.3 million overall

A jury concluded Friday that former president Donald Trump maliciously defamed writer E. Jean Carroll and ordered him to pay her $83.3 million.

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The award includes $65 million in punitive damages and compensates Carroll for years of defamatory statements made by Trump after Carroll first accused him of sexual assault in a New York department store.

Trump was found liable for sexually abusing Carroll earlier this year and was ordered then to pay her $5 million.

Trump: Verdict ‘absolutely ridiculous’

Update 5:08 p.m. EST Jan. 26: Former President Donald Trump posted on Truth Social and called the verdict “absolutely ridiculous,” according to The New York Times. He also said that he plans to appeal.

“Absolutely ridiculous! I fully disagree with both verdicts and will be appealing this whole Biden Directed Witch Hunt focused on me and the Republican Party. Our Legal System is out of control, and being used as a Political Weapon. They have taken away all First Amendment Rights. THIS IS NOT AMERICA,” Trump posted on Truth Social, according to CNN.

-- Jessica Goodman, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

E. Jean Carroll awarded $83.3 million in damages

Update 4:43 p.m. EST Jan. 26: The jury has awarded E. Jean Carroll $18.3 million in compensatory damages, according to The New York Times. The jury has also awarded her $65 million in punitive damages. She has been awarded $83.3 million in damages overall.

-- Jessica Goodman, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Jury reaches verdict

Update 4:27 p.m. EST Jan. 26: The jury has reached a verdict, according to The New York Times. It is expected to be read around 4:35 p.m. EST.

-- Jessica Goodman, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Jury gets case, will deliberate until at least 4:30 pm

Update 1:45 p.m. EST Jan. 26: Jurors have been instructed and sent to deliberate Carroll’s case against Trump, NBC News reported.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan said he will keep the jury until 4:30 p.m. unless he gets note saying they are willing to stay later, according to The New York Times.

Closing arguments conclude, jury to get case next

Update 1 p.m. EST Jan. 26: Carroll’s attorney wrapped up her rebuttal to an earlier closing statement from Trump’s lawyer on Friday. The jury is set to next get the case.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan instructed jurors that they were not tasked with deciding whether Trump had defamed or assaulted Carroll, The New York Times reported.

“For your purposes, you must accept these points are true no matter what else you heard in this trial,” he said.

Instead, he said that they should focus on if Carroll suffered damages due to the former president’s statements in 2019 and, if so, how much she should be compensated, according to the Times.

Carroll’s attorney gives rebuttal: ‘He’s still breaking the law literally to this day’

Update 12:20 p.m. EST Jan. 26: In a rebuttal following a closing statement from Trump attorney Alina Habba, an attorney for Carroll told jurors that the former president has continued to defame her client even despite an earlier jury verdict and the case before them.

“He’s still breaking the law literally to this day,” Shawn Crowley said, prompting an objection from one of Trump’s attorneys, The New York Times reported. U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan overruled the objection.

She said that arguments made by Habba that Carroll has benefited from the spotlight Trump put on her are “nonsense,” noting that her client was a respected columnist before 2019, according to the Times.

“What could be more on brand for Donald Trump than malice?” she asked.

Trump criticizes judge, Carroll as his attorney gives closing statement

Update 12:10 p.m. EST Jan. 26: Trump took to social media to criticize U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan and Carroll as his attorney gave a closing statement in court on Friday.

“I am the only one who has been injured by this attempted EXTORTION,” Trump wrote in a post on his Truth Social page. He added, “It is my duty to America to right this egregious wrong, a case which was started based on no facts, no dates, no nothing, just fabricated lies and political shenanigans.”

A jury last year found Trump liable for defaming Carroll in 2022 and sexually abusing her years earlier at a department store in Manhattan.

Carroll did not suffer emotional distress, professional harm, Trump attorney claims

Update 12:05 p.m. EST Jan. 26: Trump attorney Alina Habba argued in her closing statement that Carroll clearly suffered no emotional distress or professional harm from comments made by her client, The New York Times reported.

“She clearly has no problem using President Trump to promote herself, her brand,” she said, according to the newspaper.

She added that negative messages sent to Carroll should be “universally condemned” but were not Trump’s fault, CNN reported.

Trump returns to court for attorney’s closing arguments

Update 11:30 a.m. EST Jan. 26: After walking out of the courtroom during a closing statement from Carroll’s attorney, Trump returned to hear his attorney address the jury, CNN reported.

Attorney Alina Habba framed Trump as a victim who endured frustration over Carroll’s allegations, according to The New York Times. She said the writer’s story of her 1996 assault was inconsistent, prompting a rebuke from U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan. She also argued that Trump was not responsible for bad actors who flooded Carroll with hateful messages after she went public with her story.

“You are not here to pay Ms. Carroll for people who wrote mean tweets to her,” Habba said, according to the Times. She added, “President Trump has no more control over the thoughts and feelings of social media users than he does the weather.”

For compensatory damages, Carroll’s attorney seeks $24M

Update 11:20 a.m. EST Jan. 26: Roberta Kaplan, a lawyer representing Carroll, said her client deserves at least $24 million in compensatory damages to repair reputational harm and make up for emotional harm Trump caused her, CNN reported.

“The law says you can consider Donald Trump’s wealth, as well as his malicious and spiteful continual conduct,” Kaplan said, according to the news network. She added, “It will take an unusually high punitive damages award to have any hope of stopping Donald Trump to have a chance of allowing Ms. Carroll’s life to return to normal.”

Trump’s attorney is set to next give a closing statement.

Carroll’s lawyers seek $12 million in damages for reputational harm

Update 10:55 a.m. EST Jan. 26: Attorneys for Carroll estimated that jurors should award their client between $7 million and $12 million in damages, basing the number on a model from Northwestern University Professor Ashlee Humphreys, NBC News reported.

Humphreys’ model was built from estimates of reputational harm suffered by Carroll as measured through social media, internet and television metrics, according to CNN. Attorney Roberta Kaplan said Carroll should get at least $12 million, citing her national reputation and Trump’s global audience, the news network reported.

Kaplan told jurors that after Carroll went public with her sexual assault claim, Trump responded “by trying to ruin her,” sparking “a tsunami of attacks” against her, ABC News reported.

“This case is about how to compensate Ms. Carroll for the harm Donald Trump’s original statements in June 2019 caused her,” Kaplan said. “This case is also about punishing Donald Trump for what he has done and for what he continues to do. It’s about punishing him for the malicious nature of his original attacks in 2019, and considering his continued attacks. This trial is about getting him to stop once and for all.”

‘His denials were all complete lies’: Carroll’s attorney begins closing statements

Update 10:30 a.m. EST Jan. 26: Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, told jurors Friday in closing statements that Trump thinks “the rules don’t apply to him,” NBC News reported.

“Ms. Carroll did not make it up, the sexual assault happened and his denials were all complete lies,” she said. Later, she added that the former president “thinks with his wealth and power he can treat Ms. Carroll how he wants and will suffer no consequences.”

She urged jurors to “stick to the facts, to the evidence and to the law” despite “however unusual a case against a former president may seem,” according to CNN.

Trump appeared in court on Friday morning, but walked out of the room as Kaplan was giving her statement, ABC News reported. U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who is not related to Carroll’s attorney, interrupted proceedings briefly to note his exit.

“The record will reflect that Mr. Trump just rose and walked out of the courtroom,” he said, according to ABC News.

Original report: Attorneys for Carroll and Trump will give closing statements one day after the former president briefly took the stand and addressed Carroll’s allegations, despite a warning from the judge against trying to relitigate the case, NPR reported.

“She said something that I considered to be a false accusation,” Trump said, according to The Associated Press. Later, he added, “I just wanted to defend myself, my family and, frankly, the presidency.”

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan told the jury to disregard Trump’s remarks.

The former president’s trial began last week, with a three-day delay beginning Monday after a juror got sick and because of a possible COVID-19 exposure.

Trump has long denied any wrongdoing, insisting that he did not know Carroll and that she made up her allegations to sell copies of her memoir, which came out in 2019.

On the stand, Carroll said that Trump’s denials destroyed the reputation for honesty that she’d built after spending decades in magazine publishing, according to Reuters and CNN. She described death threats and online attacks she endured after going public with her allegations.

“I am here because Donald Trump assaulted me, and when I wrote about it, he said it never happened,” Carroll said, according to Reuters. “He lied, and it shattered my reputation.”

Last year, jurors awarded Carroll $5 million in damages. Trump has appealed the ruling.

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