The jury in E. Jean Carroll’s civil lawsuit alleging that Donald Trump raped and defamed her has begun deliberations in the case.
The nine-person Manhattan federal court jury began its deliberations shortly before noon ET after being briefed on the law in the case by US District Judge Lewis Kaplan.
Because the case is civil, not criminal, the jury will determine whether or not Trump is responsible for the attack, and whether Carroll should receive financial damages. The standard for the jury to make the determination, the preponderance of the evidence, is lower than in a criminal case, where a jury has to find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Carroll, a longtime magazine advice columnist, alleged that Trump attacked her in the dressing room of a department store near her Trump Tower home on an unspecified date in 1995 or 1996.
Carroll, 79, says the assault occurred after she and the soon-to-be president met at the store and started shopping together. Trump called her allegations a politically and financially motivated «hoax,» claims that Carroll and her lawyers told jurors were defamatory.
Carroll is suing for an unspecified amount of punitive and compensatory damages for alleged assault and defamation. «For E. Jean Carroll, it’s not about money,» her attorney Roberta Kaplan told jurors in closing arguments Monday, but «about getting her name back.»
Trump’s attorney, Joe Tacopina, told the jury of six men and three women in his closing argument that his client’s statements were not defamatory, but rather the truth.
Tacopina alleged that Carroll was motivated by “political hatred” of the then-president when she went public with her claim in a book in 2019, saying her “outrageous” story “is not worthy of belief.”
«The whole story is an incredible work of fiction,» he said, adding: «She was not raped at Bergdorf Goodman and she was not maligned.»
Trump did not appear in court during the trial, which began on April 25, but jurors were shown his videotaped deposition in the October case, where he denied Carroll’s claims under oath.
He also maintained in the statement that Carroll was «not my type,» despite misidentifying a 1980s photo of Carroll as Marla Maples, Trump’s second wife.
Trump’s lawyers did not present a defense case.
Trump waived his right to testify in the case through his attorney on Thursday morning, but told reporters in Ireland that afternoon that he would return to New York on the case.
The judge then gave him until 5 p.m. Sunday to change his mind about testifying, a deadline Trump let slip.
Despite that, Trump took his social truth social media account Tuesday morning to complain that he was being silenced.
«Waiting for the jury’s decision on a trumped up indictment where, despite being a current political candidate and leading everyone else in both parties, I am not allowed to speak or defend myself, even as tough journalists yell questions at me about this case». he said.
«Therefore, I will not speak until after the trial, but I will appeal the unconstitutional silencing of me, as a candidate, regardless of the outcome.»