Takeaways from the $83.3 million verdict against Trump


Former President Trump is staring down nearly $100 million in total damages to E. Jean Carroll after a jury handed the advice columnist a victory at her second trial Friday.

The newest verdict orders Trump to pay $83.3 million for defaming Carroll when she came forward in 2019 accusing the then-president of sexual assault decades earlier. 

Here are five takeaways from the verdict and the whirlwind trial:

It’s a whopping sum from the jury

The $83.3 million verdict far exceeded the $5 million Carroll won last year in a separate trial when Trump was found liable for sexually abusing the columnist and defaming her in a separate comment.

It’s a staggering sum that came after Carroll’s lawyers in their closing argument asked the jury to come back with at least $24 million.

But that request only included compensatory damages. Carroll’s lawyers opted against providing the jurors with a request for punitive damages, which are designed to deter conduct in the future and ultimately made up the bulk of the total sum.

The $83.3 million comprises $18.3 in compensatory damages — $11 million for a reputational repair program and $7.3 million in additional funds — and $65 million in punitive damages.

The jury’s decision to order the whopping amount in punitive damages is similar to the recent defamation verdict against Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who became Trump’s personal attorney. Two Georgia election workers sued Giuliani over false claims the duo committed voter fraud following the 2020 election. 

Giuliani was ordered to pay about $148 million, about $75 million of which were punitive damages.

Although both Trump and Giuliani’s cases marked sizable sums, it did not come close to the $787 million settlement last year in Dominion Voting Systems’s defamation case against Fox News over the network’s coverage of the unfounded mass electoral fraud claims in 2020. 

Trump’s team is furious

Before, during and after the trial, Trump and his team made their fury clear.

In recent weeks alone, Trump attacked Carroll dozens of times on his Truth Social platform, while also criticizing U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who was appointed by former President Clinton, as a “nasty judge” and “Trump-hating guy.”

“There is no longer Justice in America. Our Judicial System is Broken and Unfair!” Trump wrote on Truth Social following Friday’s verdict.

That anger carried over to inside the courtroom, where the former president voluntarily attended much of the trial and at times was animated and could be heard venting his frustrations to his lawyers.

By the end of the trial, nearly every time Kaplan ruled against Trump on an objection, the former president and his team would shake their heads. 

“This is not America, not America, this is not America,” Trump told the courtroom audience on Thursday after briefly testifying.

Kaplan at times also got testy with Trump’s counsel and broader team.

Kaplan on Friday said Alina Habba, the former president’s lead lawyer, was “on the verge of spending some time in the lockup.” Minutes later, he told Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn, who was seated behind Trump, that he was being distracting by moving around too much and ordered Epshteyn to not get up from his seat.

And earlier in the week, the judge kicked out Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung from the courtroom after an alarm on his phone went off.

Jury needed little time

The jury’s verdict came after less than three hours of deliberations. The short window also included their time for lunch.

The nine-member jury retired to their deliberations at 1:41 p.m, and court officials were receiving word that a verdict had been reached by 4:15 p.m. The group returned to the courtroom minutes later and delivered their unanimous verdict.

In Carroll’s first trial last year, that jury similarly reached a verdict in a matter of hours. 

Trump vows to appeal

Within minutes of the verdict being handed down, Trump vowed to appeal the ruling.

The challenge will raise the possibility that the jury’s verdict could be reversed down the road, but Trump still might have to cough up the $83 million in the meantime. 

Ever since last year’s jury handed down the sexual battery verdict against Trump, the former president has been appealing, but he still had to deposit a $5.55 million check in the meantime.

Trump uses court appearances to political advantage

Trump in recent weeks has shown a renewed resolve to attend his various court proceedings, turning his trials into campaign stops as he remains the decisive Republican presidential front-runner, on track to decisively win the nomination.

In the week leading up to the Iowa caucuses, Trump spent two days in court in other cases, attending an appellate argument as to whether he has criminal immunity in one of his indictments and appearing at closing arguments in his civil fraud trial in New York.

Iowa voters then delivered Trump a historic win, with the former president emerging victorious in all but one county.

The next day, as the campaign moved to New Hampshire, Carroll’s trial against Trump began. 

The former president attended nearly all of his defamation trial, except for one day, when he instead went to his mother-in-law’s funeral, and when the jury returned with its verdict.

As the trial was ongoing, Trump pulled off a victory in New Hampshire, where chief rival Nikki Haley hoped to win and begin to overcome the former president.

Following the primary, Trump briefly took the stand when the trial resumed, but he testified for only about two minutes, as he was under strict limitations from the judge.

But for days, sitting by his lawyers, he made outbursts that at one point led the judge to threaten to kick him out. And minutes into Carroll’s closing argument on Friday, Trump suddenly stood up and walked out.

Carroll’s lawyers, who sat in front of Trump’s team, on multiple occasions complained to the judge they could hear Trump under his breath making comments attacking Carroll and denying her sexual assault accusation.

The spectacle was a stark contrast to Carroll’s trial against Trump last year, when he did not show up at all or testify.

The former president has recently expressed regret for not going, blaming it on his lawyers, whom Trump said had advised him the proceeding was beneath him. Without explanation, one of the former president’s attorneys in that case withdrew as counsel just before the most recent trial began.

Trump has promised to attend all of his trials as his four criminal indictments — and the campaign season — move forward.

Dan Butcher

Dan Butcher (aka HP Pundit) is not a Democrat or Republican. He is a free thinking independent bringing you news and commentary with a dose of much needed common sense.

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