Jury finds Trump liable for sexual abuse, awards accuser $5M

New York: A jury found Donald Trump liable Tuesday for sexually abusing advice columnist E. Jean Carroll in 1996, awarding her $5 million in a judgment that could haunt the former president as he campaigns to regain the White House.

The verdict was split: Jurors rejected Carroll’s claim that she was raped, finding Trump responsible for a lesser degree of sexual abuse. The judgment adds to Trump’s legal woes and offers vindication to Carroll, whose allegations had been mocked and dismissed by Trump for years.

She nodded as the verdict was announced in a New York City federal courtroom only three hours after deliberations had begun, then hugged supporters and smiled through tears. As the courtroom cleared, Carroll could be heard laughing and crying.

Trump immediately lashed out on his social media site, claiming that he does not know Carroll and referring to the verdict as “a disgrace” and “a continuation of the greatest witch hunt of all time.” He promised to appeal.

Trump’s lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, shook hands with Carroll and hugged her lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, after the verdict was announced. Outside the courthouse, he told reporters the jury’s rejection of the rape claim while finding Trump responsible for sexual abuse was “perplexing” and “strange.”

“Part of me was obviously very happy that Donald Trump was not branded a rapist,” he said.

In a written statement, Kaplan said the verdict proved nobody is above the law, “not even the president of the United States.”

Carroll, in her own statement, said she sued 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.”

Image courtesy of The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

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