The jury awarded her $5 million in damages for her battery and defamation claims.
Asked on its verdict sheet whether Carroll, 79, had proven “by a preponderance of the evidence” that “Mr. Trump raped Ms. Carroll,” the nine-person jury checked the box that said “no.” Asked whether Carroll had proven “by a preponderance of the evidence” that “Mr. Trump sexually abused Ms. Carroll,” the jury checked the box that said “yes.” Both allegations were elements of Carroll’s battery claim.
The six men and three women also found Trump had defamed Carroll by calling her claims a “hoax” and a “con job.”
The jury deliberated for only about three hours. It awarded Carroll just over $2 million on the battery claim and just under $3 million on the defamation claims.
“I filed this lawsuit against Donald Trump to clear my name and to get my life back. Today, the world finally knows the truth,” Carroll said in a statement Tuesday. She didn’t speak to reporters outside the courthouse.
In a separate statement, her lawyer Roberta Kaplan said: “No one is above the law, not even a former President of the United States. We are so thrilled that the jury agreed.”
Trump, a 2024 presidential candidate, has consistently denied Carroll’s claims. He blasted the verdict on his social media website shortly after the verdict was handed down.
“I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHO THIS WOMAN IS. THIS VERDICT IS A DISGRACE — A CONTINUATION OF THE GREATEST WITCH HUNT OF ALL TIME!” he wrote on Truth Social.
A Trump campaign spokesman said in a statement, “Make no mistake, this entire bogus case is a political endeavor targeting President Trump because he is now an overwhelming front-runner to be once again elected President of the United States.”
“This case will be appealed, and we will ultimately win,” the statement said.
The verdict marks the first time a former president has been found civilly liable for sexual misconduct.
Republican presidential candidate Asa Hutchinson, a Trump critic, said, “The jury verdict should be treated with seriousness and is another example of the indefensible behavior of Donald Trump.”
Carroll sued in Manhattan federal court last year, alleging Trump raped her in the dressing room of a Bergdorf Goodman department store near his Fifth Avenue home in 1995 or 1996. She first went public with the claim in 2019 in her book “What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal.”
The verdict carries no criminal implications. The legal standard for liability in the civil case — the preponderance of the evidence — wasn’t as high as in criminal cases. The civil benchmark is that it is more likely than not that something occurred, while the standard for convictions in criminal cases is proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Trump, first as president and then as a private citizen, called Carroll’s account a fiction that she concocted to boost book sales, and he has said she is “not my type.” He didn’t testify at the trial, but parts of his video deposition from October were played for the jury.
The verdict was required to be unanimous.
Carroll was her own star witness at the trial, which began April 25. “I’m here because Trump raped me,” she told jurors during her three days on the witness stand.
Carroll said she’d met Trump once before, in the late 1980s, before she bumped into him at the entrance of the department store near Trump’s home and office in Trump Tower.
Carroll, who was an advice columnist for Elle magazine at the time, said Trump told her he was shopping for a lady friend and invited her to come along. “He was very personable,” she said.
She said she’d had a fun time chatting with him as the excursion eventually led to the sixth-floor lingerie department. “He was joshing and pleasant and very funny,” she said, and they each joked about trying on lingerie.
Carroll alleged that Trump motioned her toward the dressing room and that when she went in, he “shut the door and shoved me against the wall” and raped her. “I couldn’t see anything was happening, but I could certainly feel that pain,” she said, alleging the attack lasted a “few minutes” before she was able to flee.
Carroll said that she called a friend, writer Lisa Birnbach, afterward to tell her what had happened and that Birnbach told her to call the police. Carroll said she told her “no way,” because she blamed herself for the attack.
Carroll also said that she told another friend, Carol Martin, what happened days later and that Martin urged her not to go to the police for fear Trump and his lawyers would “bury her.”
Birnbach and Martin both testified in Carroll’s behalf and supported her account.