Donald Trump Found Liable in E. Jean Carroll Civil Suit – Former President Donald Trump received another legal setback on Wednesday after a federal judge ruled that the former president is civilly liable for defamatory statements he made about writer E. Jean Carroll in 2019, the year in which she went public with her claims that he had attacked her decades earlier.
U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan said that a federal jury’s verdict against Trump earlier this year will carry over to the defamation case that is set to go to trial in January.
As a result, Carroll’s defamation lawsuit will only need to determine how much money the former president will have to pay her.
Normally, a jury would determine during a trial whether a defendant is liable for civil damages claimed by a plaintiff, but the judge found that Carroll was already entitled to a partial summary judgment on the question of Trump’s liability.
This decision has been seen as a significant blow to Donald Trump, who is currently facing two other civil cases, as well as four criminal cases. Trump has been indicted on a total of 91 charges, including 44 federal charges and 47 state charges – and he has pleaded not guilty to all of them.
All three of the civil cases will be held in New York City.
Donald Trump Has a Problem: No Need for Another Trial
In a 25-page ruling, Kaplan wrote that the substance of Carroll’s pending defamation claims were the same as the Trump insults that a jury in May – in a separate civil trial – determined were defamatory. In that previous trial, Trump was found to have sexually abused Carroll during an encounter in the dressing room of a New York City department store in the 1990s.
According to that lawsuit, Trump also defamed Carroll after he left the White House and described her claims as a “con job.” The jury in May awarded Carroll a total of $5 million in damages. Trump’s legal team has appealed the ruling to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
This second case focuses on similar comments the former president made about Carroll when she first went public with her claims in 2019 while he was president.
“The truth or falsity of Mr. Trump’s 2019 statements therefore depends — like the truth or falsity of his 2022 statement — on whether Ms. Carroll lied about Mr. Trump sexually assaulting her. The jury’s finding that she did not therefore is binding in this case and precludes Mr. Trump from contesting the falsity of his 2019 statements,” Kaplan wrote.
Judge Kaplan also denied a motion from Trump’s attorneys to reduce any damages Carroll could receive in the upcoming case due to the earlier $5 million case.
Pending Case Tied Up – Will it Tie Up Primaries?
Carroll had actually filed the pending case against the former president first, but it had been tied up on appeal over issues with the issue of presidential immunity. The trial will be set for January 15, which would be just a month before the crucial New Hampshire Republican primary, which is tentatively scheduled for February 14, and kicks off the primary season.
Trump won the 2016 primary in the state with 35.2 percent of the vote.
This ruling was not the only bad news Donald Trump and his legal team received on Wednesday. Another New York judge also rejected Trump’s request to delay his civil fraud trial, scheduled to begin next month.
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.
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