E. Jean Carroll, a former magazine columnist, alleged former President Donald Trump raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman department store in the mid-1990s and then defamed her when he denied her claim.
Carroll sued Trump twice:
- She sued Trump initially for defamation in 2019 when Trump, as president, denied her allegation that he raped her.
- She filed a second lawsuit in 2022 under the Adult Survivors Act, which reopened the window to bring civil sexual assault lawsuits, for the assault and for statements he made that year, well after he left office. The trial on the 2019 lawsuit has been held up in legal challenges.
The lawsuit on his 2022 statements resulted in a verdict last year when a jury found Trump sexually assaulted Carroll and defamed her in his 2022 statements. That jury awarded Carroll $5 million. Trump is appealing the verdict. He does not face any jail time as a result of the civil verdict.
So, what’s this trial about? Judge Lewis Kaplan said that the federal jury’s verdict on the 2022 statements will carry over to this defamation case. So this jury will be asked to decide how much in damages Trump must pay Carroll for his 2019 statements.
What could the damages look like? Judge Lewis Kaplan rejected Trump’s argument that any future damages be capped, meaning the previous award shouldn’t be a factor for the jury. Carroll is seeking more than $10 million in damages.
What has Trump said? Trump has denied any wrongdoing. He has appealed the jury’s verdict and all rulings against him.