A jury of nine members in Manhattan federal court took only three hours on Tuesday to find former president Donald Trump guilty of sexually abusing writer E. Jean Carroll, and awarded her $5 million in compensatory damages. The former Elle magazine advice columnist had accused him of raping her in the mid-1990s. He then defamed her by calling her a liar.
The jury of six men and three women rejected Trump’s denial that he had assaulted Carroll and sexually abused her, but they did not find that Trump had raped her.
Finding him liable necessitated a unanimous verdict, and because this is a civil case, Trump faces no criminal consequences.
During the civil trial, Carroll, now 79, testified that Trump, now 76, raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman department store dressing room in either 1995 or 1996. Subsequently, he defamed her reputation by writing a post in October on his Truth Social platform that her claim was a “complete con job” and that her accusations were “a hoax” and “a lie.”
It’s to be seen how all this will play out for the Republican frontrunner in the 2024 presidential election race. Recent polls indicate that he would defeat other GOP contenders as well as President Biden. Given the seemingly unshakable loyalty of his base, the verdict will not be enough to dissuade them, and may in fact bolster his run.
RELATED: OP-ED: Do you support a political candidate who might be a prison candidate?
Trump may witness a small desertion from women and a few moderate Republicans may add to their general rejection of his candidacy.
Carroll’s case might have been helped by the fact that she immediately reported the issue to a friend, despite waiting all these years before going public with the charge. Two other women testified on her behalf, saying they were also assaulted by Trump.
Trump did not testify and there is no report about his reaction to the verdict. He may get only a few days to recover before another, more serious, charge—of sedition—may come in the wake of the trial of four Proud Boys, who were convicted for their role in the January 6 insurrection.