After deliberating for less than 3 hours, a New York jury announced a verdict on Tuesday in the midst of the US presidential election campaign: Donald Trump, now the Republican Party’s preferred candidate, was found guilty of sexual abuse of a writer in the dressing room of a New York store and must pay her at least $5 million in settlement.
The writer E. Jean Carroll, now 79 years old, she accused Trump of raping her in a dressing room at New York’s famed Bergdorf Goodman store in the 1990s (between 1994 and 1995, she couldn’t remember the exact date) and sued him in a civil lawsuit alleging rape and defamation in federal court in Manhattan. Prosecution was prescribed by the passage of time.
The trial began two weeks ago, and although Trump said he could attend at one point, he did not appear but instead sent a video to defend himself. He claimed that he was not looking for money but to restore “his good name” from him.
After hearing the final arguments on Monday, the jury, made up of 6 men and three women, decided the former president was guilty of sexual assault (not rape) and should compensate him for the damages caused.
Shortly after the verdict was delivered, Trump wrote in all caps: “I have absolutely no idea who that woman is. This verdict is shameful, the continuation of the greatest witch hunt of all time!”
The jury found that Carroll had proved that Trump sexually abused her, but rejected the allegation that she was raped. Sexual assault is defined in New York as subjecting someone to sexual contact without her consent. Rape is defined as sexual intercourse without consent.
It is the first time that Trump, 76, has been found guilty of sexual abuse, despite being accused by a dozen women in different circumstances.
Although it is not a criminal trial and he will not go to jail, the case falls on the tycoon in the midst of the 2024 presidential campaign. Although his staunchest supporters do not seem to be affected by the former president’s judicial problems, it can have a strong impact on the more moderate electorate, decisive when it comes to winning an election.
The case is one of several lawsuits facing the Republican tycoon. Among them are his responsibilities for the attack on the Capitol, the maneuvers to obstruct the results of the 2020 elections and the confidential files he took home, among others.
The writer’s version
Days ago, Carroll had offered his version of what happened decades ago in the room. When questioned by one of her attorneys, the writer replied, “I’m here because Donald Trump raped me, and when I wrote about it, he said it didn’t happen,” she said. “Lied and ruined my reputation And I’m here to try and get my life back.”
Carroll, then a fashion advice columnist for Elle magazine, told jurors she bumped into Trump as she was leaving Bergdorf’s store after work.
He said he asked her to help him choose a gift for a woman. “I love giving advice, and here was Donald Trump asking me for advice on buying a gift,” Carroll testified. “It was a wonderful prospect for me.”
They made their way to the lingerie section, where Trump found a leotard and ordered her to “wear it.” She refused and told him she would have to wear it. Then she took her to the locker room area, where no one else was.
Once inside, Trump immediately locked the door and began the sexual assault, she said. “I was extremely confused and suddenly realized what was going on,” Carroll said.
She said she pushed Trump away and he pushed her against the wall, hitting her head. She described how Trump used her weight to keep her against the wall, then pulled her stockings down. “I was pushing him back,” she said. “I was too scared to think if I was scared or not”He added.
“His fingers entered my vagina, which was extremely painful,” Carroll testified. Then, he said, he inserted her penis. He testified that he hasn’t had sex since.
Carroll said that after the attack he fled Bergdorf to Fifth Avenue in shock. Like many women after being abused, she said she later blamed herself, saying her decision to go to the dressing room had been “very stupid”
Carroll testified that he told two friends about his experience the day after the attack. One of them, Lisa Birnbach, an author and journalist, warned her that she had been raped and that she should go to the police. A second friend, Carol Martin, told her not to tell anyone because Trump was powerful and had a team of lawyers who would bury her.
Ultimately, Carroll was silent for more than 20 years. “I was scared of Donald Trump.”He explained.
The possibility of a criminal trial lapsed as time went on, but she told her story in an article in 2019, and Trump responded that she was a liar.
In closing arguments, Carroll’s legal team also played the 2005 “Access Hollywood” video showing Trump claiming celebrities can grab women by the genitalia without consent. And that he said the Carroll case demonstrated that Trump had a role model with women.
Trump’s lawyers, who did not call witnesses in his defense, began their appeal to the jury this afternoon.describing the allegations as unlikelybecause the store was a public place and Trump was already famous.
Defense of Trump
“It’s the most ridiculous and disgusting story. It’s just made up,” Trump’s attorney Joseph Tacopina told jurors.
Counsel tried to disqualify Carroll’s account, he said I was just looking for “fame”” and pointed out the gaps in his memory. During the trial, Tacopina also repeatedly asked the writer why she hadn’t screamed.
“Even though you realized you were in the middle of this so-called battle, did you ever yell at Donald Trump or ask for help?” “I’m not a screamer,” Carroll replied.
Trump denied any wrongdoing and called the allegations a “hoax”.
In excerpts from the video of the interrogation he was subjected to last October by the prosecution attorney, released on Friday, Trump said that “this is the most ridiculous and disgusting story. It’s all a lie” and called Carroll “sick “.
Mary Ortiz is a seasoned journalist with a passion for world events. As a writer for News Rebeat, she brings a fresh perspective to the latest global happenings and provides in-depth coverage that offers a deeper understanding of the world around us.