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Former US President Donald Trump sexually abused, defamed author E. Jean Carroll: Manhattan federal jury
New York: Former US President Donald Trump sexually abused and defamed author and advice columnist E. Jean Carroll in 1996, a Manhattan federal jury has found and awarded her USD 5 million for battery and defamation, a verdict that may hurt him in his 2024 bid to regain the White House.
The jury found that Trump sexually abused Carroll, holding him liable for battery charges but did not find that Carroll proved he raped her.
Carroll has alleged that Trump had raped her in the Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan and then defamed her when the former US President posted a statement in October on his Truth Social platform by describing her case as “a complete con job” and “a Hoax and a lie.” The jury verdict against Trump comes just over a month after a grand jury in Manhattan indicted the 76-year-old former president, for his role in paying hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels.
Trump, the first former US President to be criminally charged, has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in relation to hush money payments to Daniels during the 2016 presidential elections at his arraignment in Manhattan criminal court.
Carroll, 79, called the verdict a victory for her and other victims of abuse.
"I filed this lawsuit against Donald Trump to clear my name and to get my life back. Today, the world finally knows the truth. This victory is not just for me but for every woman who has suffered because she was not believed," she said in a statement.
CNN quoted Carroll’s lead attorney Roberta Kaplan saying in a statement, “No one is above the law, not even a former President of the United States.” Referring to Carroll, Trump wrote on his Truth Social account, in all caps, that he has “absolutely no idea who this woman is. This verdict is a disgrace — a continuation of the greatest witch hunt of all time!” He went on to describe the process as a “very unfair trial” and added that “what else can you expect from a Trump-hating, Clinton-appointed judge, who went out of his way to make sure that the result was as negative as it could possibly be, speaking to, and in control of, a jury from an anti-Trump area which is probably the worst place in the US for me to get a fair “trial.” Trump’s attorney Joe Tacopina said outside the court that Trump will appeal the verdict and called it “strange.” “This was a rape claim. This was rape case all along and the jury rejected that, but made other findings. But they rejected her rape claim and she’d always claimed this was a rape case so it’s a little perplexing, but we move forward,” Tacopina was quoted as saying by CNN.
Tacopina added that Trump is “ready to proceed and go forward.” “He’s firm in his belief, as many people are, that he cannot get a fair trial in New York City based on the jury pool,” Tacopina said.
The jury comprised six men and three women and delivered the unanimous verdict after about just three hours of deliberation.
Given that the jury’s findings are civil and not of a criminal nature, Trump has not been convicted of any crime and faces no prison time following this verdict.
Trump is currently the front-runner among all declared and potential contenders for the 2024 Republican White House nomination.
Trump's potential rivals, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, have so far criticised him on electability grounds but have stayed away from the former president’s legal troubles – including Carroll’s allegations and the Manhattan probe into a hush-money scheme, CNN reported.
But there is nothing in US law that prevents a candidate who is found guilty of a crime from campaigning for and serving as president -- even from prison.
The US Constitution lists only three qualifications for the Presidency — the President must be at least 35 years of age, be a natural-born citizen, and must have lived in the United States for at least 14 years.
Trump was twice impeached by the House of Representatives.
He was acquitted by the Senate both times. Trump and his aides are using the indictment to rile up his supporters and bolster his 2024 re-election campaign. (PTI)