A jury in New York ordered former U.S. President and 2024 candidate Donald Trump on Friday to pay $83.3 million to compensate the writer E. Jean Carroll whom he was found to have sexually assaulted and defamed.
The civil order, which prompted an audible gasp in the federal court, far exceeds the more than $10 million in damages for defamation that Ms. Carroll had sought.
Mr. Trump lashed out almost immediately calling the verdict “ridiculous” in a statement and promising to appeal.
The jury reached its decision after slightly less than three hours of deliberations.
Mr. Trump had been in court earlier, storming out at one point to subsequently return for closing arguments. He was not in court when the level of compensatory and punitive damages were read out by a court clerk.
Following the verdict, Mr. Trump’s lawyer Alina Habba spoke only to thank court staff. A juror exchanged a smile with Carroll as the nine men and women left the courtroom after the judge encouraged them to protect their privacy.
“It’s clear to me… you paid attention,” Judge Lewis Kaplan told the jury following the verdict.
The order was comprised of $65 million punitive damages after the jury found Mr. Trump acted maliciously in his many public comments about Ms. Carroll, $7.3 million in compensatory damages, and $11 million for a reputational repair program.
Mr. Trump — whom a jury found liable for sexual assault of Ms. Carroll in a separate federal civil case in New York — used his Truth Social platform to fire off a spate of insulting messages attacking Ms. Carroll, the trial, and the judge, whom he called “an extremely abusive individual.”
Mr. Trump, 77, briefly took the stand on Thursday to deny he instructed anyone to harm Ms. Carroll with his statements.
During Mr. Trump’s testimony, Judge Lewis Kaplan limited him to three questions from his lawyers, to which he could only answer yes or no — a precaution taken to prevent the Republican leader from returning to his custom of disparaging the court or Ms. Carroll in public.
“This is not America,” Mr. Trump said as he left the courtroom following his short appearance.
He was not required to attend the trial or to testify. However, he has used the case, as well as others he faces, to generate heated media coverage and to fuel his claims of being victimized as he campaigns for a return to the White House in November’s election.
Mr. Trump separately faces multiple criminal cases, including his alleged attempt to overthrow the results of the 2020 Presidential election, which he lost to Joe Biden, and a civil business fraud case.
Ms. Habba sought to have the case thrown out Thursday on the grounds that threatening messages targeting Ms. Carroll, which have been aired in the case, began on social media before Mr. Trump’s 2019 comments. Her request was denied.
Jurors were shown Mr. Trump’s October 2022 deposition during which he confused a picture of Ms. Carroll for his former wife Marla Maples, which threatened to cast doubt on his claim Ms. Carroll was not his “type.”
Last year, another federal jury found Mr. Trump liable for sexually assaulting Ms. Carroll in a department store dressing room in 1996 and subsequently defaming her in 2022, when he called her a “complete con job.”
Mr. Trump had been in court while he campaigned ahead of the New Hampshire primary, which he won handily over his only remaining challenger Nikki Haley, as he closes in on becoming the Republican candidate in the November election against Mr. Biden.