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Trump convicted of sexual assault following Tuesday’s bombshell verdict

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A jury concluded on Tuesday, May 9, that former US President Donald Trump is responsible for sexually assaulting and defaming E. Jean Carroll, a former Elle advice columnist, in a highly publicized civil trial seeking damages for both acts. 

The trial, which took place in a Manhattan federal court, was based on rape and defamation allegations made by Carroll under New York’s Adult Survivors Act, which allows survivors of sexual abuse to file claims within a one-year lookback window. This unanimous verdict was reached in under three hours and represented the first time Trump, who has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women, has been held legally accountable for sexual misconduct. 

Prior to the verdict being announced, the judge warned those present in the courtroom to maintain decorum and not shout or behave inappropriately. Carroll was seen holding hands with one of her attorneys as the jury revealed their findings.

The nine-member jury, consisting of six men and three women, was presented with 10 questions that needed to be answered unanimously to reach a verdict. These questions included the extent of Trump’s battery and whether he should be held accountable for rape, sexual abuse, forcible touching, or none of the above. Ultimately, they concluded that Trump had sexually abused Carroll, which is the second-most serious offense they could have chosen. 

This is a civil trial, so the verdict does not establish guilt and will not result in criminal charges. However, the jury has the authority to order Trump to pay $2 million for sexual abuse and $3 million for defamation. Despite these findings, Trump remains steadfast in his denial of all allegations made by Carroll. Within minutes of the trial’s conclusion, he posted on his social media site, Truth Social, stating that he had no knowledge of who Carroll was and that the verdict was a continuation of the “greatest witch hunt of all time.”

 Carroll went public with her accusation of sexual assault against Trump in 2019, prompting him to vehemently deny her claims, stating that she was not his type and that he had never met her. Despite being photographed together, Trump dismissed the images as coincidental. He also took to Twitter, alleging that Carroll was lying about the rape to boost sales of her memoir. 

In response to Trump’s statements, Carroll filed a defamation lawsuit against him in 2019, arguing that his words caused her emotional distress and harmed her career. The first lawsuit is currently stalled due to a dispute over whether the Department of Justice can defend Trump. The most recent trial is part of Carroll’s second lawsuit, which she filed in November 2022, accusing Trump of both battery and defamation. During the civil trial, Carroll testified that Trump had raped her and lied about it, causing damage to her reputation. “I’m here to try and get my life back,” she said during her testimony on the second day of the trial.

During the trial, Carroll presented other women who have accused Trump of sexual assault as witnesses, including former PEOPLE writer Natasha Stoynoff and ex-businesswoman Jessica Leeds, who described their own experiences of being assaulted by the former president.

The verdict in Carroll’s case comes at a time when Trump is facing other legal issues. In April, he made history as the first former US president to face criminal charges, pleading not guilty to 34 felony counts of first-degree falsifying of business records in a Manhattan court. The charges stem from an investigation into alleged hush money payments made to two women, including adult film star Stormy Daniels, during his 2016 presidential campaign.

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