Former President Donald Trump denounced the federal jury’s decision on Tuesday, which found him liable for sexual abuse and defamation and ordered him to pay over $5 million in damages, as a “disgrace” and “a continuation of the greatest witch-hunt of all time.” The lawsuit was filed by writer E. Jean Carroll, who accused Trump of raping her in a Bergdorf Goodman fitting room decades ago.
As the verdict was announced in Manhattan federal court, reports said Carroll, 79, lowered her head. She nodded in agreement when the jury supported her defamation claim, which arose from Trump, 76, publicly branding her a liar when she first disclosed the allegations.
The nine-person jury, consisting of three women and six men, reached their decision after three hours of deliberations. While they dismissed Carroll’s 2019 rape claim against Trump, they found him liable for sexual abuse.
The eight-day trial included testimony from 11 witnesses, such as Carroll herself, two other Trump accusers, and two friends whom Carroll had confided in about the purported attack.
Trump did not attend the trial, nor did he present any evidence or call witnesses. The jury, however, viewed clips of his video deposition.
During her three-day testimony, Carroll recounted her encounter with Trump at Bergdorf Goodman, likely in the spring of 1996. She alleged that Trump led her to a deserted sixth-floor lingerie department, where he tossed a see-through negligee at her, asking her to try it on. Carroll playfully threw it back, telling him to try it on himself. She then claimed that Trump guided her into an open fitting room, pinned her against the wall, and sexually assaulted her.
Two other women, Natasha Stoynoff and Jessica Leeds, also testified about past instances of sexual assault by Trump.
Carroll’s allegations became public in June 2019 when New York Magazine published an excerpt from her book. She initially sued Trump for defamation in November 2019 and subsequently for the rape claim in November 2022.