09 May 2023
A jury in New York City found former President of the United States Donald Trump liable of sexually abusing writer E. Jean Carroll.
The jury of six men and three women announced its findings in a federal courtroom on its first day of considering the evidence. It awarded a total of $5 million to Carroll who said Trump raped her. The case is a civil legal action, not a criminal one.
The jury found that Carroll had not proved that she was raped. But, it found Trump liable for sexual abuse. It also found Trump guilty of insulting, or defaming, Carroll after she made her claims public.
Trump chose not to attend the trial. He was not present when the judgement was read.
The former president is also a candidate in the 2024 presidential election. A spokesman said he will appeal the verdict.
Carroll told the jury that Trump raped her in a department store in Manhattan in either 1995 or 1996. She also said that Trump damaged her public image in an October 2022 post on his Truth Social social media service. He wrote that her claims were a "complete con job," "a hoax" and "a lie."
Carroll's lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, showed the jury a video of Trump talking to a television show host about sexually violating women.
The Associated Press reported that jurors heard from Jessica Leeds who said Trump sexually assaulted her in an airplane in the 1970s. Natasha Stoynoff, a writer, also gave evidence that Trump kissed her against her will in 2005. Carroll's lawyer told the jury that Trump's not attending the trial supported her case. She said, "Donald Trump is a witness against himself."
Trump's defense lawyers said Carroll said things that were hard to believe and that she pressed the case to sell a book she released in 2019.
Shortly after the ruling, Trump reacted angrily on social media. He called the decision a "disgrace" and said he does not know Carroll.
Other legal actions
Trump is the leading Republican candidate for president in 2024. However, he faces several legal actions.
In March, Trump became the first U.S. president to be presented with criminal charges. New York County District Attorney Alvin Bragg brought 34 charges of providing false business records against the former president.
The judge in that trial asked Trump's lawyers to agree to a trial date in February or March of 2024.
And, the U.S. Justice Department is investigating the treatment of secret government documents in Trump's possession after he left office in 2021. Federal investigators are also looking into Trump's possible responsibility in the attack on the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, 2021.
In Georgia, the Fulton County District Attorney's office has been investigating whether Trump and his allies illegally interfered in the 2020 election.
I'm Mario Ritter, Jr.
Mario Ritter, Jr. adapted this report for VOA Learning English from Associated Press and Reuters sources.
Words in This Story
liable –adj. responsible
con job –adj. an act of lying or cheating to reach a desired result
hoax –n. an act of lying, cheating or tricking to reach a desired result
host –n. a person who receives or entertains guests socially, commercially, or officially
disgrace –n. a cause of shame
assault –v. to attack