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E. Jean Carroll, second from right, arrives at Manhattan federal court, Tuesday, May 9, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

New York Jury Awards Trump Accuser $5M

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A New York City jury has ruled that Donald Trump should be held liable for sexual abuse and defamation in a case that was brought against him by advice columnist E. Jean Carroll. 

This was a civil trial, not a criminal trial, and the jury awarded Carroll $5 million.  

AP reports U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan told the nine-person jury they only needed to be more than 50% sure that Trump committed a crime. 

Carroll has accused Trump of rape, but the jurors rejected the rape charge. Kaplan said if the jury rejected that accusation, they could choose lesser forms of assault involving sexual contact without her consent, which they did. 

Trump did not testify in the case and insists he never sexually assaulted Carroll or even knew her. He has vowed to appeal the verdict, calling it “a disgrace” and “a continuation of the greatest witch hunt of all time.”

Carroll claims the incident occurred after a chance encounter in 1996 at the Bergdorf Goodman store across the street from Trump Tower, but she could not tell the jury the date it happened. Her attorney, Roberta Kaplan, said Trump's lewd comments on a 2005 “Access Hollywood” video were proof that he was guilty.

Trump's attorney, Joe Tacopina, told the jury that Carroll's account is too far-fetched to be believed, saying she made it up to fuel sales of a 2019 memoir in which she first publicly revealed her claims, and to harm Trump's political future.

Tacopina also told the jury Carroll made up her claims after hearing about a 2012 “Law and Order” episode in which a woman is raped in the dressing room of the lingerie section of a Bergdorf Goodman store. Two of Carroll's friends testified that she had told them about the alleged incident many years before the “Law and Order” episode aired.

It isn't clear what impact this verdict and the former president's appeal will have on his 2024 bid for the White House. But the latest ABC News- Washington Post poll shows him with a clear lead over President Joe Biden.

Meanwhile, Tara Reade, a woman who accuses Joe Biden of raping her in the 1990s, has been invited to testify in Congress about Biden’s alleged actions. Reade worked in Biden’s office from 1992 to 1993 when he was a U.S. senator. It's unclear when that testimony might occur, but Reade just tweeted on May 7 that she's afraid for her life. 

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