Updated May 9, 2023, 4:14pm EDT
politicsNorth America

Jury finds Trump sexually abused, defamed E. Jean Carroll

E. Jean Carroll, former U.S. President Donald Trump rape accuser, departs Manhattan Federal Court as the civil case goes into deliberations, in New York City, U.S., May 8, 2023. REUTERS/David 'Dee' Delgado
REUTERS/David 'Dee' Delgado

Sign up for Semafor Principals: What the White House is reading. Read it now.

Title icon

The News

A jury found former U.S. President Donald Trump liable in the lawsuit brought against him by writer E. Jean Carroll, who claimed Trump raped her in the mid-1990s.

The jury rejected the accusation that Trump raped Carroll, but determined that he sexually abused and defamed her. She was awarded $5 million in damages.

The nine-person jury began deliberations Tuesday after a two-week civil trial and returned with a verdict less than three hours later. Carroll was seeking an undisclosed sum in damages.

Title icon

Know More

Carroll, 79, alleged that the former president raped her in a New York department store dressing room in 1995 or 1996, and later defamed her by denying it happened.

In finding Trump liable, the jury found that Carroll proved by a preponderance of the evidence that Trump sexually abused her, but not that he raped her. He is likely to appeal the verdict.


In an all-caps post on Truth Social on Tuesday, Trump said the verdict was a “disgrace” and “a continuation of the greatest witch hunt of all time!”

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a 2024 GOP presidential candidate, said the verdict is “another example of the indefensible behavior of Donald Trump.”

Trump’s campaign, meanwhile, issued a lengthy statement saying the “bogus case” is a political effort targeting Trump since he is a frontrunner in the 2024 presidential race.

Title icon

Step Back

A former Elle magazine columnist, Carroll sued Trump for rape and defamation after he denied her allegations on his Truth Social platform in October 2022, saying her case is a "complete con job." She alleged the rape left her unable to enter relationships.

Lawyers for Carroll argued that the incident showed a pattern of behavior for the former president, entering the now-infamous Access Hollywood tape, where Trump is caught on a hot mic saying he can “do anything” to women because he is famous, as evidence.

A lawyer for Trump, Joe Tacopina, argued that Carroll’s claim is “an unbelievable work of fiction.” Trump, who told reporters in Ireland last week that he was considering cutting short a trip to his golf course in the country to return home and “confront” Carroll in court, did not testify in his own defense, and the defense did not call any other witnesses.

Carroll filed the lawsuit under a new New York law that gave adult victims a one-time opportunity to file civil sexual abuse lawsuits, even if the statutes of limitations had run out.

Title icon

The View From The Republican Party

Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel did not directly address the verdict when asked about it on Fox News, saying she didn’t want to comment on it before Trump did.

“I do think the American people, though, are going to be focused on what’s happening at our southern border, what’s happening with inflation, what’s happening in their lives under the Biden administration,” McDaniel said.