Jury finds Donald Trump liable for sexual abuse and defamation in E. Jean Carroll case

By Maureen Chowdhury, Tori B. Powell, Mike Hayes and Elise Hammond, CNN

Updated 10:00 p.m. ET, May 9, 2023
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4:57 p.m. ET, May 9, 2023

Trump's attorney says former president will appeal the verdict

Joe Tacopina, attorney for former President Donald Trump, arrives for the third day of a civil trial against the former president at Manhattan Federal Court on April 27 in New York City.
Joe Tacopina, attorney for former President Donald Trump, arrives for the third day of a civil trial against the former president at Manhattan Federal Court on April 27 in New York City. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Donald Trump's attorney Joe Tacopina called the jury's decision in the civil trial Tuesday a "strange verdict," noting that the jury rejected the rape claim against his client.  

While the jury found that Trump sexually abused E. Jean Carroll in 1996, sufficient to hold him liable for battery, the jury did not find that Carroll proved he raped her. He does not face any jail time as a result of the civil verdict.

Tacopina, speaking outside the Manhattan courthouse, said that they would "obviously" be appealing the verdict.

Trump is "firm in his belief" that he cannot get a fair trial in New York City "based on the jury pool," the attorney said. 

"I think one could argue that that's probably an accurate assessment, based on what happened today," Tacopina said.

He said there were many issues to for an appeal.

"We made many motions that we thought would create issues for appeal, and we are going to employ them now. You know, there were things that happened in this case that were beyond the pale," he said.

4:33 p.m. ET, May 9, 2023

Why the verdict in E. Jean Carroll's civil case doesn't impact Trump's ability to run for president

From CNN's Tierney Sneed

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally on April 27 in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally on April 27 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The verdict in E. Jean Carroll's case against Donald Trump has no legal effect on his 2024 presidential candidacy.

For one, it is a civil case, and during the 2016 campaign, Trump also faced all sorts of civil action, like the fraud cases concerning Trump University. Those were settled shortly after he was elected and had no bearing on the requirements for the presidency laid out in the Constitution.

Trump also faces unrelated criminal exposure, most prominently in the case that Manhattan prosecutors have brought against him for hush money payments to women claiming extramarital affairs with him.

There are also federal criminal investigations — one concerning the mishandling of documents from his White House and another into the efforts to disrupt Congress’ 2020 election certification — are also encircling him, as is an Atlanta-based probe into the election subversion plots.

Similarly, a successful criminal prosecution of the former president is unlikely to affect, at least from a legal standpoint, his ability to be reelected to the White House.

Notably, there is a precedent for convicted felons to run for federal office — including for the office of the presidency.

Eugene Debs, a perennial socialist candidate for the White House in the early 20th century, was incarcerated on an espionage conviction when he won more than 900,000 votes in a 1920 presidential campaign.

4:16 p.m. ET, May 9, 2023

What is the difference between sexual abuse and rape, according to New York law

From CNN staff

The jury in the E. Jean Carroll civil case against Donald Trump had been instructed that a person is liable for sexual abuse when he subjects another person to sexual contact without her consent. 

Under New York law, “sexual contact” means “any touching of the sexual or other intimate parts of a person for the purpose of gratifying the sexual desire of either party.” 

The state’s law says that a person is liable for rape when a person forces sexual intercourse with another person without their consent. For the purposes of this law, “sexual intercourse” means “any penetration, however slight, of the penis into the vaginal opening.” 

Both sexual abuse and rape are sexual offenses in New York.  

While the jury did not find that Carroll had proven rape, they did find that she proved Trump committed sexual abuse, allowing her to receive damages for her civil battery claim. 

4:04 p.m. ET, May 9, 2023

Trump calls jury verdict a "total disgrace"

From CNN's Kristin Holmes

Former President Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower in New York on April 3.
Former President Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower in New York on April 3. Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump called the jury’s verdict a “total disgrace” and said it was a “continuation of the greatest witch hunt of all time,” in a post on Truth Social

He continued to claim he did not know who E. Jean Carroll was in the post.

His spokesman Steven Cheung echoed Trump in a statement calling the case "bogus."

4:16 p.m. ET, May 9, 2023

E. Jean Carroll smiled as verdict was read in courtroom, CNN correspondent says

E. Jean Carroll walks out of Manhattan federal court on Tuesday, May 9, in New York. 
E. Jean Carroll walks out of Manhattan federal court on Tuesday, May 9, in New York.  John Minchillo/AP

Former magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll was holding attorney Shawn Crowley's hand as the verdict was read in the Manhattan federal court, according to CNN correspondent Kara Scannell, who was in the courtroom at the time.

She said the writer "had a sense of relief," appeared to rock forward and that a smile came across her face.

A jury on Tuesday found former president Donald Trump liable for sexually abusing and defaming Carroll and awarded her a total of about $5 million.

Ahead of the verdict's reading, Judge Lewis Kaplan asked those in the courtroom to have decorum and avoid verbal and physical reactions, which attendees abided by, Scannell said.

Once the jury was escorted out and the verdict was read, Carroll hugged her lead attorney Roberta Kaplan, according to Scannell. Trump's attorney Joe Tacopina made his way to the plaintiff's table and shook Carroll and her attorney's hands, she said.

3:34 p.m. ET, May 9, 2023

Judge tells jurors they can now identify themselves publicly but advises them not to

From CNN's Lauren del Valle

Before dismissing the jury, Judge Lewis Kaplan informed them that they are now allowed to identify themselves publicly, if they choose — but he advised them not to.

"My advice to you is not to identify yourselves. Not now and not for a long time," Kaplan said.

"If you're one who elects to speak to others and to identify yourselves to others, I direct you not to identify anyone else who sat on this jury,” Kaplan added. “Each of you owes that to the other whatever you decided for yourself."

3:45 p.m. ET, May 9, 2023

Jury awards Carroll total of $5 million in battery and defamation case

From CNN's Lauren del Valle

Former advice columnist E. Jean Carroll walks into Manhattan federal court on Tuesday, April 25, in New York.  
Former advice columnist E. Jean Carroll walks into Manhattan federal court on Tuesday, April 25, in New York.   Brittainy Newman/AP

A jury Tuesday found Donald Trump liable for sexually abusing and defaming E. Jean Carroll, awarding the writer a total of about $5 million in a significant defeat for the former president.  

The jury awarded Carroll about $2 million in damages for her civil battery claim and nearly $3 million for successfully proving her defamation claim against Trump.

Carroll sued Trump for battery, alleging his conduct qualified as a sexual offense because it was rape, sexual abuse or forcible touching. While the jury did not find that she had proven rape, they did find she proved Trump committed sexual abuse, allowing her to receive damages for her battery claim. 

Under New York Adult Survivors Act, passed in May 2022, survivors of sexual offenses are able to file a civil lawsuit against a perpetrator for damages even if the statutory window of time to bring a claim has expired, as long as they can also show the offense qualifies as a sex crime under the law. 

After the verdict was read, Carroll exited the courthouse smiling and holding hands with her attorneys. She made no comment to the media who shouted questions in her direction.

Her attorney Roberta Kaplan spoke briefly, saying: “We’re very happy.”

3:18 p.m. ET, May 9, 2023

Jury finds Trump liable for defamation of Carroll and awards nearly $3 million

From CNN's Lauren del Valle

Former President Donald Trump arrives for an event at his Mar-a-Lago home on November 15, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida. 
Former President Donald Trump arrives for an event at his Mar-a-Lago home on November 15, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida.  Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A jury in Manhattan federal court found Donald Trump liable for defamation in a civil lawsuit brought by writer E. Jean Carroll.  

Trump should pay nearly $3 million in damages to Carroll for successfully proving her defamation claim against him, the jury found. 

It also found that Trump should pay about $2 million in damages for her civil battery claim, bringing the total to $5 million.

3:11 p.m. ET, May 9, 2023

Jury says Donald Trump should pay about $2 million in damages for battery of E. Jean Carroll 

From CNN's Lauren del Valle

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a Save America Rally to support Republican candidates running for state and federal offices in the state at the Covelli Centre on September 17, 2022 in Youngstown, Ohio.
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a Save America Rally to support Republican candidates running for state and federal offices in the state at the Covelli Centre on September 17, 2022 in Youngstown, Ohio. Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

A jury in Manhattan federal court found that Donald Trump should pay about $2 million in damages to E. Jean Carroll for her civil battery claim. 

Trump may have to pay more in damages if the jury finds that he also defamed Carroll. Defamation is the second claim in Carroll’s lawsuit against Trump.  

The verdict continues to be read in court.