Former US President Donald Trump, who hopes to win back the White House in 2024, was found responsible by a New York civil court jury for the 1996 ‘sexual assault’ of former journalist E Jean Carroll, to whom he will have to pay 5 million in damages.
After two weeks of trial, and less than three hours of deliberations, the nine jurors, unanimous, determined that Donald Trump was not responsible for the “rape” of E. Jean Carroll, in the fitting room of the lingerie department of a New York department store, as she accused him, but of “sexual assault”.
The verdict, read in stony silence in the crowded courtroom, was greeted with emotion by the 79-year-old plaintiff, who gave her lawyers a long hug.
That of Donald Trump, Joe Tacopina, also went to greet her, after having accused her of lying throughout the trial.
“This victory is not only for me, but for all the women who have suffered because they were not believed”, welcomed in a press release the former columnist of Elle magazine, who left smiling the Manhattan Courthouse.
– A book in 2019 –
The jury of six men and three women also ruled that Mr Trump should pay $5 million in damages for the sexual assault and for defaming the author after she revealed the facts in a book in 2019 .
“This verdict is a disgrace,” he immediately denounced on his social network Truth Social. “The endless witch hunt of the Democratic Party (…) reached a new level today,” added his campaign team, adding that he intended to appeal.
– Legal troubles –
Donald Trump has never been prosecuted in this case, because of the age of the alleged facts, but this civil judgment adds to his legal troubles, when he intends to represent the Republican Party again in the presidential election in 2024. At this stage, he dominates all his conservative competitors in the polls.
In early April, in an unprecedented move for a former US president, the Republican billionaire was criminally charged in New York with 34 counts of accounting and tax fraud related to payments to cover up embarrassing affairs before the 2016 presidential election, including a sexual relationship with an X movie star, Stormy Daniels.
Donald Trump, 76, is also in the crosshairs of justice for his alleged involvement in an attempt to turn the results of the 2020 presidential election in his favor in Georgia, and his role in the assault on the Capitol by his supporters, on January 6, 2021.
The civil trial lasted two weeks and the former tenant of the White House never came to testify, the jury having to settle for a video of his testimony in the procedure where he denied the facts, qualifying E. Jean Carroll of “liar” and “sick”. Present every day, E. Jean Carroll had testified at length, telling how “such a funny New York scene” – her chance meeting with Donald Trump at the entrance to the Bergdorf Goodman department store, then a few jokes on the shelves deserted — had turned into a nightmare.
– “Modus operandi” –
While there are no eyewitnesses who saw Donald Trump and E. Jean Carroll more than 25 years ago on the shelves, two close friends of the journalist confirmed in court that she had entrusted them, shortly after the alleged facts, to have been “assaulted” or “attacked” by the businessman.
Two other women, among those who accused Donald Trump of sexual assault or inappropriate acts in the past, also gave their testimony before the jury.
In his pleadings, the lawyer for E. Jean Carroll, Roberta Kaplan, had assured that the former American president acted each time according to the same “modus operandi”, the one he himself describes in a video that has become famous, where we hear him in 2005 boasting of kiss and touch women as he pleases.
E. Jean Carroll assured that she had not spoken for 20 years for fear that Donald Trump would destroy her career. After her revelations, she had initially filed a complaint for defamation, because Donald Trump had accused her of lying to sell her work.
Then, last November, she filed a lawsuit for rape, thanks to a new law in the State of New York allowing alleged victims to sue in civil justice even for potentially prescribed facts.