Former US President Donald Trump has been convicted of sexually abusing a writer.
A New York jury found former US President Donald Trump guilty of sexually assaulting and defaming American former magazine writer E Jean Carroll in the 1990s on Tuesday, May 9.
Carroll accused the former US president of sexually assaulting her in a New York City department store in the mid-1990s, and he later discredited her by calling the memoir she wrote about the incident in 2019 a “con job.”
The nine-member panel that awarded Ms. Carroll $5 million in compensation and punitive damages, however, determined that the former president did not rape her.
Carroll was awarded $2 million by the jury after proving her sexual abuse case by a preponderance of the evidence. The jury of six men and three women also agreed that Trump should pay Carroll nearly $3 million for defamation.
The decision is a huge setback for the 76-year-old’s bid to retake the White House in 2024.
On Tuesday, the writer and her lawyers held hands as the verdict was read aloud. She walked out of the courthouse, smiling and wearing sunglasses, and into a car without speaking to reporters.
Trump, who did not attend the New York trial, slammed the verdict, calling it a “disgrace” and a “continuation of the greatest witch hunt of all time.”
The frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination in next year’s election wrote;
“I have absolutely no idea who this woman is. This verdict is a disgrace — a continuation of the greatest witch hunt of all time!”
Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Joe Tacopina, told reporters the jury’s decision to rule in Carroll’s favour on the rape claim was “perplexing” and “strange”.
On Tuesday, his spokesman, Steven Cheung, stated that the former president would file an appeal. This means that he will not be required to pay the awarded damages as long as the verdict is challenged in court.
The former president is still dealing with a slew of legal issues, including criminal charges in New York stemming from a hush-money payment made to a porn star in 2016 and a Justice Department investigation into his alleged mishandling of classified documents.
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