Donald Trump ordered to pay E Jean Carroll $83.3m for defamation

Trump walks out of court after lawyer for Carroll asks jurors to decide how much he owes writer.

Former US President Donald Trump is seeking reelection despite facing charges including 91 felony counts in four criminal indictments [Eduardo Munoz/Reuters]

Former United States President Donald Trump has been ordered to pay $83.3m to a writer he is accused of defaming after denying her claims of sexual assault.

A  jury of seven men and two women on Friday awarded E Jean Carroll, a former columnist for Elle magazine, $18.3m in compensatory damages and $65m in punitive damages.

The civil order, which was met with an audible gasp in the New York courtroom, far surpasses the more than $10m in damages sought by Carroll.

The award comes after a different jury in May found Trump liable for the sexual abuse and defamation of Carroll and ordered him to pay her $5m in damages.

Both trials were civil cases, which use the lower standard of preponderance of evidence to make findings and do not determine criminal guilt.

Jurors were only asked how much Trump, 77, should pay Carroll for two statements he made as president when denying her claims, not whether the sexual assault occurred.

Carroll has accused Trump of forcing himself on her in 1996 following a chance encounter at a New York department store.

Trump denied the allegations and accused Carroll of being a “complete con job” who sought to boost the sales of her memoir.

In a statement issued through a publicist after the verdict, Carroll, who testified that Trump’s denials “shattered” her reputation as a respected journalist, described the verdict as a “great victory for every woman who stands up when she’s been knocked down, and a huge defeat for every bully who has tried to keep a woman down”.

Trump, who is the strong favourite to be the Republican nominee for president in November, slammed the verdict as “absolutely ridiculous”.

“Our Legal System is out of control, and being used as a Political Weapon,” Trump posted on social media. “THIS IS NOT AMERICA!”

Trump had attended the trial earlier on Friday but stormed out of the Manhattan courtroom as Carroll’s lawyer was making closing arguments.

The former president returned for his own lawyer’s closing argument and some of the deliberations but left the court again before the verdict was announced.

Trump is also awaiting a verdict in a New York civil fraud trial, where state lawyers are seeking the return of $370m that they claim are ill-gotten gains from loans and deals made using financial statements that exaggerated his wealth.

Trump additionally faces multiple criminal cases, including a case in Georgia alleging that he conspired to overturn the outcome of his 2020 presidential election loss to Joe Biden.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies