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Trump seeks to cut sex abuse award to $1M

Attorneys for former President Donald Trump called on a judge on Thursday to cut the $5 million awarded to E. Jean Carroll after a federal jury last month found that the former president sexually abused her in the 1990s. The jury said that Trump was liable for sexual abuse and defamation of Carroll. The jury did not find the former president liable for rape, but rather for abuse that injured Carroll. The case, which was civil, not criminal, found Trump liable for an attack, not “guilty.”  The jury granted $2 million on Carroll’s sexual abuse claim and $2.7 million for compensatory defamation damages. Trump’s attorneys alleged that the damages were excessive. The Associated Press has the story:

Trump seeks to cut sex abuse award to $1M

Newslooks- NEW YORK (AP)

The $5 million awarded to a columnist by a jury that concluded she was sexually abused in the 1990s by Donald Trump in a New York luxury department store should be reduced to less than $1 million, the former president’s lawyers told a judge Thursday, saying the award was grossly excessive and based on “pure speculation.”

The lawyers noted in a written submission that a Manhattan federal court jury last month rejected a rape claim made by the writer, E. Jean Carroll, concluding instead that she had been sexually abused in spring 1996 in the store’s dressing room.

“Such abuse could have included groping of Plaintiff’s breasts through clothing, or similar conduct, which is a far cry from rape,” the lawyers wrote.

In this image taken from video released by Kaplan Hecker & Fink, former President Donald pauses during his Oct. 19, 2022, deposition for his trial against writer E. Jean Carroll. The video recording of Trump being questioned about the rape allegations against him was made public for the first time Friday, May 5, 2023, providing a glimpse of the Republican’s emphatic, often colorful denials. (Kaplan Hecker & Fink via AP)

They said the $2 million granted by the jury on a sexual abuse claim was “grossly excessive” and another $2.7 million issued for compensatory defamation damages was “based upon pure speculation.”

The award should consist of no more than $400,000 for sex abuse, no more than $100,000 for defamation and $368,000 or less for the cost of a campaign to repair Carroll’s reputation, the lawyers wrote.

If a judge does not grant the suggested reduction in the award, then he should permit a new trial on damages, they said.

FILE – Attorney Joe Tacopina, a lawyer representing former President Donald Trump, arrives to federal court in New York, April 27, 2023. The lawyer for former President Donald Trump wants a mistrial in his client’s rape case, saying the judge overseeing the proceedings has ruled in a biased manner against him. Tacopina’s complaints were filed Monday, May 1, 2023 in Manhattan federal court. Tacopina complained that rulings by Judge Lewis A. Kaplan have been slanted in favor of writer E. Jean Carroll. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, file)

Carroll, 79, testified at the trial that she had a flirtatious and friendly chance encounter with Trump at a midtown Manhattan Bergdorf Goodman store until he followed her into a dressing room and became violent.

Trump, 76, did not attend the trial, but lengthy excerpts of a videotaped deposition from last October were played for jurors. In them, he denied ever encountering Carroll at the store or knowing her. He said he believed she made the claims against him in part to promote a 2019 memoir in which she first publicly made allegations against him.

Former advice columnist E. Jean Carroll, second from right, arrives to federal court in New York, Wednesday, April 26, 2023. Jurors have been seated in the trial over Carroll’s claim that former President Donald Trump raped her nearly three decades ago in a department store dressing room. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Roberta Kaplan, Carroll’s attorney, said in an emailed statement that the arguments by Trump’s lawyers were frivolous.

She said the unanimous jury had concluded that Trump sexually assaulted Carroll and then defamed her “by lying about her with hatred, ill-will, or spite.”

“This time, Trump will not be able to escape the consequences of his actions,” Kaplan said.

Trump may still face a second defamation trial resulting from another lawsuit Carroll filed against him. That case has been delayed with appeals as the U.S. Justice Department sought to substitute the United States as the defendant in place of Trump. Government lawyers say Trump can’t be held liable for the comments he made as president.

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