Donald Trump found guilty of sexually assaulting a writer
Former US President Donald Trump has been found liable for sexually abusing and defaming a former magazine columnist, as determined by a New York jury on Tuesday.
The ex-president has been ordered to pay her $5 million in damages, which amounts to approximately Ksh. 678 million.
Although the jury rejected the rape accusation made by E. Jean Carroll, they upheld her other complaints in this closely watched civil trial, taking less than three hours to deliberate.
This is the first time Trump has faced legal consequences over a series of sexual assault allegations dating back decades, and he immediately dismissed the verdict as a disgrace.
Carroll, 79, filed the lawsuit against Trump in 2020, alleging that he raped her in the changing room of the luxury Bergdorf Goodman store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue in 1996.
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The former Elle Magazine columnist also claimed that Trump defamed her when he called her “a complete con job” after she went public with the allegation in 2019.
Trump, 76, is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination in the next presidential election, has dismissed her case as a “hoax” and “a lie.”
The jury found that Carroll had proven sexual abuse, which amounts to sexual contact without consent, by a preponderance of the evidence and awarded her $2 million. Additionally, the six men and three women on the jury ruled that Trump should pay Carroll nearly $3 million for defamation.
After the verdict, Carroll left the Manhattan federal court smiling but did not speak to reporters. Her lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, said they were very pleased with the outcome. However, Trump took to his social media platform, Truth Social, to criticize the decision.
“I have absolutely no idea who this woman is,” he said. “This verdict is a disgrace… a continuation of the greates witch hunt of all time.”
Trump’s campaign team dismissed the civil lawsuit as a “political effort” aimed at derailing his comeback bid, stating that they would appeal the ruling.
During the two-week -long trial, Carroll testified that the alleged assault had left her feeling ashamed and unable to have romantic relationships, with fears of Trump having prevented her from coming forward sooner.
Her lawyers called two other women, Jessica Leeds and Natasha Stoynoff, to testify, both of whom claimed that Trump sexually assaulted them in the past.
While Trump did not appear in court, a video of his October deposition was played, in which he dismissed the allegations as falsehood propagated by a “sick person.”
His lawyers argued that Carroll had made up the accusation for personal gain and political motives.
The case was filed under a New York law that allowed sexual assault victims to sue their alleged abusers up to several decades after the incident, but no criminal proceedings can result from Carroll’s lawsuit.
Trump also faces other legal challenges, including criminal charges relating to a hush-money payment made to a porn star before the 2016 vote and allegations of mishandling classified documents taken from the White House.