(NEW YORK) — A jury on Tuesday found former President Donald Trump liable for battery and defamation in a lawsuit brought by writer E. Jean Carroll that claimed Trump raped her in a Manhattan department store dressing room in the 1990s then defamed her when he denied the claim in 2022.
Jury members found that Trump did not rape Carroll but sexually abused her, and awarded her a total of $5 million.
“I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHO THIS WOMAN IS,” Trump posted to his Truth Social platform following the verdict. “THIS VERDICT IS A DISGRACE – A CONTINUATION OF THE GREATEST WITCH HUNT OF ALL TIME!”
Here are the top five most consequential moments from the trial.
‘Trump raped me,’ Carroll says
Carroll told jury members that she and Trump were laughing and joking after they ran into one another near the Bergdorf Goodman department store entrance around 1996, and that he asked her to help him buy some lingerie as a gift. Then, she said, he led her into a dressing room, shut the door, shoved her up against a wall, and sexually assaulted her.
“I’m here because Donald Trump raped me,” Carroll testified. “And when I wrote about it, he said it didn’t happen. He lied and shattered my reputation. And I’m here to try and get my life back.”
It was the first time a former U.S. president had been accused of rape in open court.
The ‘silent generation’
Under cross examination by defense attorney Joe Tacopina, Carroll said she didn’t report the alleged attack because, as a woman born in the 1940s, she’s a member of the “silent generation” that didn’t speak up about such things. The exchange came after Tacopina introduced several of her advice columns for Elle magazine in which she suggested that her readers call police in the event of a sexual assault or threat.
“There were numerous times where you’ve advised your readers to call the police” despite Carroll never reporting her own alleged rape to police, Tacopina said.
“I was born in 1943,” Carroll replied. “I am a member of the silent generation. Women like me were taught to keep our chins up and not complain. The fact that I never went to the police is not surprising for someone my age. I would rather have done anything than call the police.”
Trump doesn’t appear
Trump was not required to appear at the trial, as it was a civil case and not a criminal one. But Tacopina said at the start of the trial that Trump might decide to testify as the trial progressed.
The attorney subsequently informed the court that Trump had decided he would not testify — but then, while golfing in Europe, Trump made remarks suggesting he would return to New York to confront his accuser.
In light of those comments, the judge in the case gave Trump until Sunday to file a motion to reopen the case for the sole purpose of testifying.
“If he has second thoughts, I will at least consider it,” the judge said. But Trump ended up filing no motion, and did not appear at the trial.
The Marla moment
Carroll’s attorneys seized on Trump’s deposition last year when he was shown a 1980s-era photograph of Carroll, her then-husband John Johnson, Trump, and his then-wife Ivana Trump — and he momentarily mistook Carroll for his second wife, Marla Maples.
“That’s Marla, yeah. That’s my wife,” Trump said regarding Carroll, according to the deposition.
“The truth is that E. Jean Carroll, a former cheerleader and Ms. Indiana, was exactly Donald Trump’s type,” Carroll’s attorneys argued in court, referring to Trump’s 2022 Truth Social post calling her allegations “a Hoax and a lie” and saying “This woman is not my type!”
Carroll’s attorneys juxtaposed Trump’s mistaken identification og Carroll with his remarks on the infamous 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape, on which he is heard saying about women that “I just start kissing them.”
“You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait,” Trump says on the tape, which was played for the jury. “And when you’re a star they let you do it … You can do anything.”
“Whatever you want,” another voice on the tape is heard saying.
“Grab them by the p—-,” Trump says. “You can do anything.”
“What is Donald Trump doing here?” Carroll’s attorney said regarding the tape. “He’s telling you in his own words how he treats women. It’s his modus operandi.”
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