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Judge upholds $83m E Jean Carroll defamation verdict against Trump

Lawyers for former President Donald Trump vowed on Thursday to appeal a decision by a federal judge to let stand an $83 million defamation award granted to columnist E. Jean Carroll earlier this year.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, a Clinton appointee, said in a written opinion that Trump’s legal arguments are without merit, CNN reported, adding that the punitive damages the jury awarded to Carroll “passes constitutional muster.”

Roberta Kaplan, Carroll’s attorney, declared in a statement that her team is “pleased, though not surprised, by the Court’s decision.” She is not related to the federal judge.

“As the Court explained, it was entirely reasonable for the jury to award E. Jean Carroll $83 million in damages given Donald Trump’s continued defamation of Ms. Carroll during the trial itself, as well as his conduct in the courtroom, where his ‘hatred and disdain (were) on full display,’” Kaplan said.

CNN added:

Carroll, a former magazine columnist, alleged Trump raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman department store in the mid-1990s and then defamed her when he denied her claim. In a separate case, a jury last year found Trump liable for the sexual assault.

The second case stems from remarks Trump had made denying Carroll’s allegations in 2019. He was found liable for defamation last year, and a jury earlier this year ordered him to pay $83.3 million in punitive and compensatory damages.

Trump’s legal team argued that the damages awarded to Carroll in the defamation case were excessive, but Kaplan dismissed that argument in his opinion released on Thursday.

“Mr. Trump’s malicious and unceasing attacks on Ms. Carroll were disseminated to more than 100 million people,” Kaplan wrote. “They included public threats and personal attacks, and they endangered Ms. Carroll’s health and safety.”

“The jury was entitled to conclude that Mr. Trump derailed the career, reputation, and emotional well-being of one of America’s most successful and prominent advice columnists and authors,” he added.

Carroll never made her allegation against Trump until he ran for president and won.

Trump attorney and spokeswoman Alina Habba blasted the decision and vowed to appeal it to the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

“We categorically disagree with Judge Kaplan’s decision,” said Habba. “It ignores long-standing constitutional principles and is a prime example of the lawfare raging across this country. We are confident that this decision will be overturned by the Second Circuit.”

CBS News noted: “A longtime advice columnist, Carroll wrote a story in New York magazine in 2019 accusing Trump of sexually assaulting her in a department store dressing room in the mid-1990s. Trump, who was president when the story was published, denied the allegations, calling Carroll a ‘whack job’ and claiming he had never met her.”

After Trump was found liable for sexual assault and defamation in the first trial, an old Facebook post from 2012 written by Carroll surfaced in which she declared she was a “massive fan” of Trump’s hit TV show, “The Apprentice.”

“Two [sic] many good TV shows on Sunday Night! My God! What do YOU watch?” she initially wrote before responding to her own post: “I’m a MASSIVE Apprentice fan.”

Donald Trump Jr. seized on the post at the time, writing: “This seems like a perfectly normal thing to say given the accusations?!? Unless, of course, the accusations were totally fabricated and made up recently as a political hit job.”

The skepticism poured in afterward.

“Massive Apprentice Fan???? How are you a fan of the show who’s star is DJT? You know, the one you said (raped)  you all those years ago??? I hope our amazing POTUS sues your ass for everything you have. You are a disgrace to women who are true victims of sexual assault. Who put you up to this???” one person wrote in response.

“Why are you a fan of a guy that supposedly raped you?” another asked. “A “MASSIVE” Apprentice fan?You slapped the faces of true rape victims, you fraud!!!” another wrote.

Another individual remarked, “Are you a devoted follower of the show? Why support someone who, years later, you accuse of rape? Your actions are deceitful, and it’s baffling how you reconcile them. You’re causing harm to genuine survivors. I hope he countersues and prevails.”

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