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Legal Blow for Trump: Jury Holds Him Responsible for Sexual Assault in E. Jean Carroll Trial

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In a furious outburst, former President Donald Trump criticized the jury that found him liable for sexually assaulting writer E. Jean Carroll, labeling their verdict a “travesty of justice.” The jury’s decision held Trump responsible for the sexual abuse Carroll endured in a department store during the 1990s, as well as for defaming her by dismissing her claims as a “hoax” and a “lie.” However, the jury did not find him liable for rape. This civil trial marks the first time Trump has been legally held accountable for a sexual assault, and he has been ordered to pay Carroll $US5 million ($7.4 million). Unhappy with the outcome, Trump has declared his intention to appeal.

In response to the verdict, Carroll expressed a sense of vindication, stating that the world now knows the truth. She emphasized that the victory extends beyond her personal case, standing as a symbol for every woman who has suffered due to not being believed.

Trump took to his social media platform, Truth Social, in a series of late-night posts, unleashing his discontent with the result. He accused the “partisan judge and jury” of enabling a grave injustice to occur, while also launching personal attacks against Carroll. Trump expressed disbelief that Carroll, whom he claimed not to know except from a crowded celebrity photo line, could be deemed credible by a judge and jury. He further criticized Judge Lewis Kaplan, whom he asserted had a deep-seated hatred for him, alleging bias and asserting that Kaplan should have recused himself from the case. Trump labeled the trial a rigged hoax and denounced it as a continuation of the greatest political witch hunt in history.

Judge Kaplan, appointed by former President Bill Clinton in 1994, repeatedly ruled against Trump’s legal team during the Carroll trial. Trump’s team initially sought to delay the proceedings, arguing that the extensive media coverage had created an unfair environment for the former president. Judge Kaplan rejected their claims, stating that much of the media coverage had been invited or provoked by Trump’s own actions. He cautioned Trump against making public attacks on Carroll and the court and issued warnings against further discussion of the trial.

Shortly after Trump’s online tirade, one of his lawyers, Alina Habba, grew visibly frustrated during an interview on CNN. Host Dana Bash inquired about other allegations of sexual misconduct against Trump that emerged during the 2016 election campaign. Habba sought to clarify whether the discussion pertained to events from 2016, implying that the allegations were no longer relevant. Bash pressed on, questioning whether the recent trial could be the beginning of further legal action. Habba dismissed the concerns, accusing Bash of raising the issue due to fears that Trump would win. Habba pointed to polls indicating Trump’s lead and suggested that Bash should be worried instead.

During a TV appearance the following morning, Carroll emphasized that the case was not about the money. She expressed her primary goal as reclaiming her name and identity rather than focusing on financial compensation. Carroll stressed the significance of the verdict, underscoring the importance of restoring her reputation and the impact it could have on other women who have faced disbelief and skepticism in their own experiences.

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