In the 1990s, former President Donald Trump sexually assaulted a magazine columnist in a New York department store, according to a civil jury's verdict. However, Mr. Trump was deemed not liable for raping E Jean Carroll in the Bergdorf Goodman dressing room.
Mr. Trump was also found liable for defamation for labeling the writer's accusations as a hoax and a lie. It is the first occasion that Mr. Trump has been held legally liable for a sexual assault.
The jury in Manhattan ordered Mr. Trump to pay her about $5 million (£4 million) in damages. Tuesday, the jury of six men and three women reached a verdict after deliberating for less than three hours.
"Today, the world finally knows the truth," Ms. Carroll stated in a statement issued after the verdict. She stated that this triumph is not only for her, but also for all women who have suffered because they were not believed.
Mr. Trump's attorney stated that the former president intends to appeal the decision. Mr. Trump is not required to register as a sexual offender because his case was heard in civil court and not criminal court.
The former president, who has refuted Ms. Carroll's allegations, was absent from the two-week civil trial in Manhattan's federal court. Ms Carroll, aged 79, clasped the hands of both of her solicitors as the verdict was read in court and smiled as the jury awarded her damages. As the trial concluded, Mr. Trump's attorney, Joe Tacopina, shook her hand and said, "Congratulations and good luck."
Roberta Kaplan, the plaintiff's attorney, said that this was not only a victory for E Jean Carroll, but also for democracy and all the worldwide survivors. After the verdict, Mr. Trump, 76, posted in all capital letters on his social media platform Truth Social that he had absolutely no idea who E Jean Carroll is.
According to Mr. Trump, the verdict is an embarrassment. In civil cases, the requirement of proof is lower than in criminal cases, so jurors only needed to find that it was more probable than not that Mr. Trump assaulted Ms. Carroll.
Although the jury found Mr. Trump guilty of sexual battery and defamation against Ms. Carroll, they did not find him guilty of rape. To do so, the jury would have had to believe that Mr. Trump and Ms. Carroll engaged in sexual activity without consent.
The cross-examination of Ms Carroll by Mr Trump's solicitors was acrimonious. Her legal team summoned eleven witnesses to corroborate her claims that Mr. Trump assaulted her in 1995 or 1996 in the lingerie section of a luxury department store.
Among them were two women who claim Mr. Trump sexually assaulted them decades ago. In the 1970s, one woman testified that Mr. Trump inappropriately touched her during a flight. In 2005, another woman claimed that Mr. Trump forcibly kissed her during an interview for an article she was writing.
Two of Ms. Carroll's longtime acquaintances testified that she told them about the incident shortly after its occurrence. On the witness stand, Ms. Carroll described in explicit detail what allegedly occurred in the store and the trauma she claims to have suffered as a result.