Federal judge rejects Donald Trump’s bid for new E. Jean Carroll defamation trial, upholds $83M judgment

Written by on April 25, 2024

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(NEW YORK) — A federal judge in New York on Thursday rejected former President Donald Trump’s bid for a new trial in a defamation case brought by writer E. Jean Carroll. The ruling upheld the jury’s $83.3 million damage award.

“Contrary to the defendant’s arguments, Ms. Carroll’s compensatory damages were not awarded solely for her emotional distress; they were not for garden variety harms; and they were not excessive,” Judge Lewis Kaplan wrote.

“Mr. Trump’s malicious and unceasing attacks on Ms. Carroll were disseminated to more than 100 million people,” he added. “They included public threats and personal attacks, and they endangered Ms. Carroll’s health and safety.”

Robbie Kaplan, Carroll’s attorney, celebrated the ruling.

“We are pleased with though not surprised by the Court’s decision today denying Donald Trump’s motions for a new trial and judgment as a matter of law,” she said in a statement. “As the Court explained, it was entirely reasonable for the jury to award E. Jean Carroll $83 million in damages given Donald Trump’s continued defamation of Ms. Carroll during the trial itself, as well as his conduct in the courtroom where his ‘hatred and disdain [were] on full display.'”

At the end of a five-day trial in February, Trump was ordered to pay $83.3 million to Carroll, a former Elle magazine columnist, for defaming her in 2019 when he denied her allegations of sexual abuse.

Carroll was awarded $17.3 million in compensatory damages and $65 million in punitive damages.

In May 2023, Trump was found liable in a separate trial for sexually abusing Carroll in the dressing room of a Manhattan department store in the 1990s, and defaming her in a 2022 social media post by calling her allegations “a Hoax and a lie” and saying, “This woman is not my type!”

While he was found liable for sexual abuse, jury members found that Trump did not rape Carroll as she claimed.

Trump rejected all accusations of wrongdoing and claimed he had not even heard of Carroll.

The ruling Thursday from Kaplan rejected each of Trump’s lawyer’s claims, ultimately deciding, “In short, the argument — which Mr. Trump previously made to the jury, conspicuously without success, and which defies common sense — does not warrant dismissal as a matter of law.”

ABC News’ Peter Charalambous and Olivia Rubin contributed to this report.

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