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Jury E. Jean Carroll accuses Trump of sexual assault, defamation in civil trial

A federal jury in New York in the mid-1990s found author E. Former President Donald Trump is found liable for battery and defamation in a civil lawsuit stemming from allegations that he raped Jean Carroll.

He was awarded a total of $5 million in damages.

A jury of six men and three women took up the case on Tuesday The discussion lasted for less than three hours. The jury’s decision had to be unanimous. In closing arguments, Carroll’s attorney Roberta Kaplan reminded the jury that for a battery charge, “all you need is that it’s more likely than not” that Trump attacked Carroll to impeach him, which is “a much lower standard than that.” “reasonable suspicion” standard applied in criminal trials.

The jury found Trump liable for sexual assault, but not rape, and also found that he defamed Carroll.

After the verdict, Trump posted on Truth Social: “I have absolutely no idea who this woman is. This verdict is a disgrace – a continuation of the biggest witch hunt of all time!”

He can appeal against the verdict.

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Jane Rosenberg

Before Judge Louise Kaplan discharged the jurors, who remained anonymous throughout the trial, she thanked them and told them they were now free to speak publicly about their service. But he advised them not to do so. If they do, he prevents them from identifying any of their colleagues on the panel.

As the jurors left the courtroom for the last time, it seemed none of them made eye contact with Carroll as they left. After the jurors left, Carroll’s attorneys hugged him. Trump was not in the courtroom for the verdict or the trial.

During the eight-day trial, Carroll’s attorneys pressed a case to the jury about how her allegations fit a pattern, or “modus operandi,” for Trump. In addition to witnesses who said Carroll confessed to them after the incident, the jury heard from two other women who described Trump turning casual encounters into sexual misconduct. They also watched the “Access Hollywood” video clip in which Trump can be heard eloquently describing women’s genitalia.

Trump’s lawyers did not call any witnesses And He did not testify At trial they argued that the 10 witnesses Carroll and his team called conspired to smear a former president out of hatred for him.

Ahead of the verdict Tuesday morning, Trump posted on Truth Social that he was “not allowed to speak or defend myself, even as hard-nosed reporters screamed about the case against me.”

Trump was allowed to testify in his own defense, but he did not.

Carroll accused Trump of assaulting and raping her in a Bergdorf Goodman department store dressing room in New York City in the mid-1990s, and then defaming her after her account was published in 2019. Trump, who claims he’s never met Carroll and “she’s not my type,” vehemently denies her allegations.

E.  Jean Carroll leaves court after winning her case against Donald Trump

E. Gene Carroll, center, leaves Manhattan federal court, Tuesday, May 9, 2023, in New York. A jury found Donald Trump guilty of sexually assaulting an advice columnist in 1996, awarding him $5 million.

Seth Wenig/AP

Her statements about Carroll were the basis of her defamation claim. The jury was shown a photo from the late 1980s showing Trump and Carroll in conversation with their then-spouses. They also saw the moment Trump’s videotaped deposition When he was shown the picture and wrongly Carroll was identified by his ex-wife as Marla Maples. Defense attorney Roberta Kaplan argued that this was evidence that Carroll was indeed Trump’s “type.”

After Trump was told about women making mistakes during his deposition, he said the picture was “unclear.”

Carroll testified during the trial, saying she bumped into Trump while leaving the store one evening. She said Trump recognized her, saying, “Hey, you’re that mentor woman,” referring to a magazine column she wrote for nearly three decades. She said he replied, “Hey, you’re that real estate tycoon.”

Carroll, then 52, said Trump, then 50, asked for advice on buying a gift for a daughter. He described the cheerful, “joshing” banter as he observed the store, even after he suggested they go to the underwear department.

Carroll, who wrote for “Saturday Night Live” in the 1980s, said the encounter seemed like a funny scene, until things took a dark turn when they walked into a dressing room.

Carroll said Trump pushed her against the wall, her head banging against it. She said Trump forced his hand inside her, causing severe pain, and then penetrated her with his penis.

Carol said as she managed to force her knees between them, pushing her away before walking away as fast as she could.

She said she told two other people after the alleged assault, her friends Lisa Bernbach and Carol Martin. Both were called to testify at trial, providing testimony that largely matched Carroll’s recollection.

Trump attorney Joe Tacopina showed jurors emails and text messages between Carroll, Martin and Bernbach that showed their hostility toward Trump, who was then president, as the defense tried to portray a politically motivated effort by the trio to discredit Carroll’s story. to him.

Tacopina characterized the case as one where Trump “has no story to tell” because he said Carroll’s claims are completely fabricated. In his closing argument, Kaplan said the jury had to decide who was telling the truth: the “nonstop liar” Trump, or the 11 people who testified under oath on Carroll’s behalf.

In the end, the jury believed him

What is the difference between sexual battery and rape?

As CBS News legal analyst Ricky Kleiman explained, juries chose to go with sexual battery over rape for a variety of reasons.

.@rikkijklieman explains the difference between rape and sexual battery after a jury held Trump liable for battery and defamation.

“In many jurisdictions, such penetration of the vagina by a finger would also be considered rape, but perhaps this jury felt differently.” pic.twitter.com/lBZF1Hn1YZ

— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 9, 2023

Kleiman defines sexual battery as “a forcible touch, and more.”

One possible reason jurors chose sexual battery over rape is that they came to a “consensus” about what actually happened, Kleiman explained. Kleiman said Carroll was very “emphatic” about a finger and how it felt.

“In many jurisdictions, this type of vaginal penetration by finger would also be considered rape, but perhaps this jury felt differently,” he said. “No doubt they had seen and heard enough to say, ‘Well maybe it wasn’t rape for all kinds of extraneous reasons,’ but they still felt that, on one question, they could consider it sexual assault. The judge’s “lesser” included crimes. Didn’t go further down the list, as we lawyers would say.”

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