UPDATE: 1:33 PM: The jury has reached a verdict in E. Jean Carroll’s multi-million defamation trial against Donald Trump after just a few hours of deliberations.
The decision is expected to be read out in the next few minutes. Trump will not be there when the verdict is announced, as he left the Manhattan court about half an hour ago for the airport.
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Carroll’s lawyers are looking for at least $24 million in compensatory damages, plus more in punitive damages. Trump has already been found liable last year of sexual abusing and defaming Carroll. Back in May, that jury awarded the former Elle columnist $5 million. Ever since the allegations of the mid-1990s attack came to light in 2019, the much-accused Trump has continued to smear Carroll and declare his innocence in and out of the White House. Carroll says his defaming remarks put her in danger and ruined her reputation.
PREVIOUSLY, JAN 25 PM: With just under five minutes of surprisingly reserved testimony from Donald Trump just now, the defense has rested its case in the defamation damages trial against the former president by E. Jean Carroll.
Taking the stand as promised Thursday, Trump was unusually circumspect in his responses to his lawyer. “No, I just wanted to defend myself, my family and, frankly, the presidency,” the much-indicted ex-president responded to attorney Alina Habba’s question of “did you ever instruct anyone to hurt Ms. Carroll in your  statements?”
Earlier, with former Elle columnist Carroll sitting just a few feet away, Trump was asked by Habba if he thought Carroll’s sexual assault claims were false. stated “Yes I did. She said something that I considered a false accusation — totally false.”
Having put some pretty strict guardrails in place for Trump before the jury was brought back in to hear his testimony today, New York state Judge Lewis Kaplan immediately jumped in to tell the court that “everything after ‘yes I did’ is stricken.”
Sticking to the judge’s guidelines, Carroll’s lawyer Roberta Kaplan got in one question of cross-examination of Trump. “Is this the first trial that you have attended involving you and E. Jean Carroll?” she asked, Trump replied “Yes.”
Going into closing arguments Friday, it is obvious that Kaplan wanted the jury to know that Trump never even bothered to show up even once for Carroll’s sexual assault trial against him last year.
Before giving his testimony, Trump clearly was overheard to say in court: “I never met the woman. … I do not know who this woman is.” Leaving the courthouse today, the past and perhaps future president was heard to mumble ,“This is not America,” according to various media reports.
Carroll is seeking up to $12 million for the harm to her reputation, and unspecified “significant” punitive damages.
Today’s anticlimactic courtroom events come two days after Trump’s big win in the New Hampshire primary and more than six months after the ex-Celebrity Apprentice host was found liable of sexual abusing and defaming Carroll. Back in May, a jury of six men and six women awarded $2 million to Carroll for battery and $3 million for defamation.
That’s pennies for alleged billionaire Trump but a very public sting going into a tight election year for a man who’s MAGA base almost never cares about such things.
Writer Carroll long has claimed that Trump assaulted her in the mid-1990s in NYC department store Bergdorf Goodman. In office, out of office, in court and in front of the media, Trump always has denied anything happened and that he even knew Carroll. Since Carroll’s allegations first surfaced in 2019, Trump has put out some vile and harsh social media posts about Carroll too. Those statements and posts have ruined Carroll’s reputation, her lawyers have claimed.
Already found liable for the incident in the department store change room nearly 30 years ago, Trump is in court in this case for attacking Carroll verbally when he was in the White House and subsequently. The leading candidate for the GOP 2024 presidential nomination, Trump has insisted time and time again since the jury found for Carroll in May.
Just after 11 a.m. PT, CNN and MSNBC went live with the events in the courtroom and missives from their reporters inside. Fox News initially stayed with an interview with Sen. Ted Cruz over airplane safety and Boeing before going to correspondent Eric Shawn outside the Manhattan courthouse. While the other cable newsers stuck with Trump coverage as the court adjourned for the day, Fox went to a segment on the Department of Education and revamped student-loan forms.
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