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Trump’s lawyers seek to suspend Carroll’s $83M defamation verdict

Donald Trump’s lawyers asked a New York judge to suspend an $83.3 million defamation verdict against the former president, saying there was a “strong probability” that it would be reduced on appeal, if not eliminated.

Quick Read

  • Defamation Verdict Appeal: Donald Trump’s legal team is seeking to suspend an $83.3 million defamation verdict against him, arguing there’s a high chance it will be reduced or overturned on appeal.
  • Background of the Case: The verdict was awarded to E. Jean Carroll by a Manhattan federal court jury, which found Trump had sexually abused her in 1996 and defamed her in 2022. This followed Trump’s denials of Carroll’s allegations, which she first made public in a 2019 memoir.
  • Punitive and Compensatory Damages: Trump’s attorneys are challenging the $65 million in punitive damages and $18.3 million in compensatory damages, claiming they are excessively high and unconstitutional.
  • Trump’s Absence and Testimony: Trump did not attend the first trial where Carroll was awarded $5 million but was present and testified briefly in the second trial, which focused on his 2019 statements.
  • Carroll’s Testimony and Aftermath: Carroll testified about receiving death threats and suffering reputation damage due to Trump’s derogatory remarks. Trump has consistently dismissed her claims as politically motivated fabrications.
  • Legal Proceedings and Statements: Trump’s lawyers are requesting either a suspension of the judgment or a partially secured stay involving a bond. Carroll’s lawyer declined to comment, while Trump’s attorney criticized the jury award as “egregiously excessive.”
  • Additional Legal Challenges: Apart from this case, Trump faces a separate $355 million penalty in a New York state court for financial misrepresentations, with total liabilities nearing $454 million including interest.

The Associated Press has the story:

Trump’s lawyers seek to suspend Carroll’s $83M defamation verdict

Newslooks- NEW YORK (AP) —

Donald Trump’s lawyers asked a New York judge to suspend an $83.3 million defamation verdict against the former president, saying there was a “strong probability” that it would be reduced on appeal, if not eliminated.

The lawyers made the request in Manhattan federal court, where a civil jury in late January awarded the sum to advice columnist E. Jean Carroll after a five-day trial that focused only on damages. A judge had ordered the jury to accept the findings of another jury that last year concluded Trump sexually abused Carroll in 1996 and defamed her in 2022.

The second jury focused only on statements Trump made in 2019 while he was president in a case long delayed by appeals.

FILE – Former President Donald Trump speaks after exiting the courtroom for a break at New York Supreme Court, Dec. 7, 2023, in New York. The notorious 2005 “Access Hollywood” video in which Trump was caught on a hot mic speaking disparagingly about women over a decade before he became president can be shown to jurors deciding what he owes E. Jean Carroll, a columnist he defamed, a federal judge ruled Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024, as he set up ground rules for a trial next week. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, File)

In the filing Friday, Trump’s lawyers wrote that Judge Lewis A. Kaplan should suspend the execution of a judgment he issued on Feb. 8 until a month after he resolves Trump’s post-trial motions, which will be filed by March 7. Otherwise, they said, he should grant a partially secured stay that would require Trump to post a bond for a fraction of the award.

The lawyers said the $65 million punitive award, atop $18.3 in compensatory damages, was “plainly excessive” because it violates the Constitution and federal common law.

“There is a strong probability that the disposition of post-trial motions will substantially reduce, if not eliminate, the amount of the judgment,” they said.

FILE – E. Jean Carroll, center, walks out of Manhattan federal court, Tuesday, May 9, 2023, in New York. Former President Donald Trump has countersued Carroll who accused him of rape, saying she defamed him by continuing to insist she was raped even after a jury declined to agree. Lawyers for Trump filed papers late Tuesday, June 27. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

Trump did not attend a trial last May when a Manhattan jury awarded Carroll $5 million after concluding that the real estate magnate sexually attacked Carroll in spring 1996 in the dressing room of a luxury Bergdorf Goodman store across the street from Trump Plaza in midtown Manhattan.

Since Carroll, 80, first made her claims public in a memoir in 2019, Trump, 77, has repeatedly derided them as lies made to sell her book and damage him politically. He has called her a “whack job” and said that she wasn’t “his type,” a reference that Carroll testified was meant to suggest she was too ugly to rape.

Carroll also testified that she has faced death threats from Trump supporters and has had her reputation shattered after remarks Trump continued to make even as the trial was going on.

FILE – E. Jean Carroll leaves Federal court after a jury awarded her $83.3 million in a case against former President Donald Trump, Jan. 26, 2024, in New York. No one gets under Trump’s skin quite like women who face him in court. Carroll is on a long list of women for whom Trump’s playbook deploys intimidation, combined with a now-familiar brand of vulgarity, nicknames and other insults used for men, too. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, File)

At the second trial, Trump attended regularly and briefly testified, though he did most of his communication with the jury through frequent shakes of his head and disparaging comments muttered loudly enough that a prosecutor complained that jurors surely heard them and the judge threatened to banish him from the courtroom.

Roberta Kaplan, a lawyer for Carroll and no relation to the judge, declined comment Friday.

Alina Habba, one of Trump’s attorneys, said in a statement that January’s jury award was “egregiously excessive.”

“The Court must exercise its authority to prevent Ms. Carroll’s (sic) from enforcing this absurd judgment, which will not withstand appeal,” Habba said.

Since the January verdict, a state court judge in New York in a separate case has ordered Trump and his companies to pay $355 million in penalties for a yearslong scheme to dupe banks and others with financial statements that inflated his wealth. With interest, he owes the state nearly $454 million.

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