Donald Trump was found liable for the sexual abuse of writer E. Jean Carroll by a New York City jury in May of 2023, but that was just the beginning of the legal battle between Trump and Carroll. The longtime Elle columnist also accused the former president of defaming her, a charge that he is now facing in federal court. Here’s an overview of what’s going on with the case:
What has Carroll accused Trump of?
Carroll has actually filed two lawsuits against Trump. The first accused Trump of disparaging her and calling her a liar after the publication of her 2019 memoir, What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal, in which she recalls Trump forcing himself on her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room; the second—which was filed in 2022—accused Trump of defaming her on social media in October of that year by denying that the assault had taken place. The latter case, which went to trial last spring, is referred to as Carroll II (to differentiate it from the 2019 lawsuit).
What was Carroll’s testimony like?
“I’m partaking in this trial to bring my old reputation and status back,” Carroll told jurors this week. Carroll denied Trump lawyer Alina Habba’s suggestion that her social status had been positively impacted by accusing Trump of rape, saying: “I’m more well-known, and I’m hated by a lot more people.”
How has Trump responded?
As a civil defendant, Trump is not required to appear in court, but he was present for the first two days of the trial, which is expected to last at least through Monday. It’s not clear at this time whether Trump will testify, but he’s already earned himself reprobation from presiding U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan. Kaplan threatened to remove Trump from the courtroom on Wednesday for audibly laughing, scoffing, and making disparaging comments, to which the former president replied: “I would love it.”
What is Carroll seeking from Trump?
Carroll is seeking more than $10 million in damages. When she won the first trial against Trump last May, the jury awarded her $5 million in damages, with $2.98 million devoted specifically to her defamation claim. (Trump is appealing the verdict, of course.)
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