In a significant legal development, former President Donald Trump’s hopes for a new trial in the civil suit with longtime columnist E. Jean Carroll have been dashed. Additionally, the $5 million damages awarded to Carroll in the defamation case against Trump will remain intact, as federal Judge Lewis Kaplan has dismissed Trump’s bid for a retrial.
The case stems from an incident in 1996, where Carroll alleged that Trump sexually abused her in a department store dressing room. In May, Trump was found liable for both defamation and sexual abuse, with Carroll prevailing in her claims against the former president. Trump publicly denied her allegations, leading to the defamation lawsuit.
In a comprehensive memorandum, Judge Kaplan considered the two separate lawsuits Carroll had filed against Trump. The document highlighted that Carroll’s victory was almost complete, with the sole exception being whether she had proven that Trump had “raped” her within the narrow legal definition of the New York Penal Law.
Clarifying the jury’s verdict, the opinion asserted, “The finding that Ms. Carroll failed to prove that she was ‘raped‘ within the meaning of the New York Penal Law does not mean that she failed to prove that Mr. Trump ‘raped’ her as many people commonly understand the word ‘rape.’ Indeed, as the evidence at trial recounted below makes clear, the jury found that Mr. Trump in fact did exactly that.”
Throughout the legal battle, Trump has vehemently denied Carroll’s allegations and even filed a counterclaim, asserting that she defamed him during a CNN appearance where she confidently maintained her accusations against him.
The ruling by Judge Kaplan puts an end to Trump’s hopes for a retrial and upholds the damages awarded to Carroll, reaffirming the jury’s verdict in her favor. The case has drawn considerable attention, given the involvement of a former president and the serious nature of the allegations.
The legal battle between Carroll and Trump has been closely watched by the public, and the judge’s decision is likely to spark further debate and discussion about issues of sexual abuse, defamation, and the responsibility of public figures. As the case continues to unfold, its implications on the larger political landscape and discussions around sexual misconduct in high-profile spheres remain in focus.
With this chapter coming to a close, the nation remains attuned to any potential future legal developments and the impact this case may have on the broader discourse about accountability, justice, and the conduct of individuals in positions of power.