Donald Trump has called his sexual assault conviction a "scam" and said that a biased Manhattan jury and judge prevented him from receiving a fair trial. The 76-year-old was found guilty of sexually abusing journalist E. Jean Carroll in a New York City department shop in the middle of the 1990s, and defaming her by saying she lied.
On Tuesday, Trump was acquitted of rape in the civil trial but was nevertheless compelled to pay $5 million in damages. Hours later, on Tuesday night, Trump posted three videos on his Truth Social network in which he slammed the verdict and announced he would appeal.
Guilty and Furious
A Manhattan jury on Tuesday awarded $5 million to writer E. Jean Carroll after finding that Trump was responsible for harassing and sexually abusing her, but not for the alleged rape of the woman.
Carroll, 79, bowed her head as the verdict was read in Manhattan federal court and nodded when she heard that the jury had found in favor of her defamation action against Trump for calling her a liar when she came forward with her allegations that he had sexually assaulted her in a Bergdorf Goodman fitting room in 1996.
The judgment is only one of many legal problems that Trump is dealing with, including an ongoing criminal prosecution involving "hush money" payments, and it could dog him as he runs for president in 2024.
The nine-person jury -- three women and six men-- resolved the case after three hours of deliberations starting just before noon on Tuesday.
Neither Carroll nor her attorney, Roberta Kaplan, spoke to the throng of reporters waiting outside the Lower Manhattan courthouse when they left hand in hand. The former "Ask E. Jean" writer sped through the press and into a waiting automobile.
However, Trump fumed at the verdict. His attorney, Joe Tacopina, said they would appeal the verdict.
"He's firm in his belief, as many people are, that he can't get a fair trial in New York City based on the jury pool," Tacopina said of Trump. "I think one could argue that's an accurate assessment based on what happened today."
Later, on Thursday, Carroll issued a statement through her lawyer in which she claimed she had sued Trump "to clear my name and to get my life back."
"Today, the world finally knows the truth," she said. "This victory is not just for me but for every woman who has suffered because she was not believed."
Hours later, Trump took to Truth Social to vent out his anger and frustration. "The whole thing is a scam," he said in one of the three videos posted to Truth Social.
"And it's a shame, and it's a disgrace to our country."
Trump reiterated his earlier allegation that his trial was unfair because it was held in Manhattan, the borough of New York City, where he spent nearly all of his adult life.
Manhattan is a staunchly Democrat borough, and the former president is widely loathed in his hometown.
"What else can you expect from a Trump-hating, Clinton-appointed judge, who went out of his way to ensure the result of this trial was as negative as it could possible be," Trump asked.
"Speaking to and in control of a jury from an anti-Trump area, which is probably the worst place in the United States for me to get a fair trial.
"We'll be appealing this decision. It's a disgrace. I don't even know who this woman is. I have no idea who she is, where she came from."
The trial, according to Trump, was just the most recent in a long line of politically motivated attacks against him.
He has used the Carroll trial in campaign fundraising emails as proof of what he claims is a Democratic plot. He claims that Carroll, a former Elle magazine columnist and registered Democrat, made up the allegations to damage his reputation and boost sales of her 2019 memoir.
"This is another scam. It's a political witch hunt," he said on Tuesday.
"And somehow we're going to have to fight this stuff. We cannot let our country go into this abyss. This is disgraceful."
Before the trial started, it was revealed that Democratic donor and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman had paid for Carroll's legal fees. Hoffman's charitable advisor defended the gift and claimed that it was given before Carroll filed a lawsuit and that "we had no prior knowledge that our funding would go to support her in particular."
Carroll received $2 million from the jury for Trump's sexual assault as well as $20,000 in punitive damages.
The jury decided on $1 million in defamation damages for Trump's statement from October, $1.7 million in additional damages for Carroll's reputational impairment, and $280,000 in punitive damages.
The total amount was $5 million.