Former President Trump’s two-week defamation trial ended dramatically on Friday, January 23, 2024. Before jurors left the court for the last time, they got unexpected but not too surprising advice from the Judge.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan concluded proceedings by asking the men and women of the jury to keep their identities secret. “My advice to you is that you never disclose that you were on this jury, and I won’t say anything more about it.”
Judge Kaplan had just read the jury’s verdict, which slapped the former President with almost $90 million in damages. While Kaplan’s advice wasn’t unusual, Trump’s personality and behavior during the trial had much to do with it.
Judges have in the past advised jurors to keep a low profile and stay away from the press after high-profile cases. But the suggestion became more relevant in this case.
Trump has made utterances and displayed behavior that suggested a willingness to go after unfavorable judges and their staff. Hence, Kaplan believed that the advice to the jurors was crucial.
During the case, Kaplan had, on many occasions, had to put the former President in check. The Judge warned Trump and his lawyers several times to desist from unruly behavior. Therefore, the suggestion to the jury became necessary for their protection.
This particular case wasn’t the first one in the face-off between Trump and E Jean Carroll, a writer and author. Carroll had accused Trump of sexually assaulting her in a Bergdorf Goodman store in 1996.
Although Trump denied the claims, he failed to convince jurors who concluded he was guilty in May 2023. Consequently, the nine-man jury slapped him with $5 million for the offense.
In this more recent trial, Trump and Carroll squared off again in a defamation suit against the former President. Carroll accused Trump of defaming her on many occasions since she came public with the accusation in 2019.
The jury ruled that Trump’s comments had ruined Carroll’s reputation and caused her psychological harm. Trump denied Carroll’s claims in two lengthy statements where he designated her and declared that she was not his type.
Carroll’s lawyers showed the court abusive text messages the writer received from angry persons after Trump’s comments. They also showed the jury that Carroll’s writing career took a hit afterward.
In their decision, the jury awarded a further $65 million in punitive damages. They also awarded $18.3 million in compensatory damages, amongst others. In total, Trump came out of the court $83.3 million more indebted to Carroll.
Trump called the verdict a “political weapon,” pointing fingers yet again at the Biden administration.
“I fully disagree with both verdicts, and will be appealing this whole Biden Directed Witch Hunt focused on me and the Republican Party,” he said.
Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, who was at the receiving end of the Judge’s anger on many occasions during the trial, also commented on the verdict. She disagreed strongly with the decision and vowed to appeal it, stating that she was confident of victory.
You Might Also Like: