E. Jean Carroll Plans to Spend Her $83M Defamation Case Winnings on ‘Something Donald Trump Hates’
A recent victory in court by E. Jean Carroll against former United States President Donald Trump has given many of his detractors cause to celebrate. Her $83 million win is sure to harm and distract the former president as he continues his reelection campaign.
Carroll, for her part, seems keen to rub it in as much as possible, with plans to spite-spend the earnings on something she thinks Trump would hate.
Causing Donald Trump Some Pain
“I’d like to give the money to something Donald Trump hates — that will cause him pain for something, to give money to certain things. Perhaps a fund for the women who have been sexually assaulted by Donald Trump,” Carroll said to George Stephanopoulos on the television program.
Trump Didn’t Treat It Like a Courtroom
In another interview with CNN, Carroll described her impression of Trump’s attitude toward the proceedings.
“It is apparent the courtroom was not a courtroom to him. It was a campaign stop,” she told CNN. “That was clear. So we had two different objectives. Ours was to win a case. His was to win voters. We’ll see how that plays out. He’s using me to win voters. Sexual assault — a man found liable for sexual assault is using the woman he sexually assaulted to get votes.”
Trump’s Reaction to the Trial
Trump took to social media to express his disagreement with the trial outcome.
“Absolutely ridiculous! I fully disagree with both verdicts, and will be appealing this whole Biden Directed Witch Hunt focused on me and the Republican Party,” he wrote. “Our Legal System is out of control, and being used as a Political Weapon. They have taken away all First Amendment Rights. THIS IS NOT AMERICA!” Trump wrote on the social media platform Truth Social.
The Accusation Against Trump
Trump previously had to defend himself against an accusation of sexual assault from Carroll. She accused the former president of forcing himself on her while she was in a luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman in the 1990s.
This recent verdict punishes Trump for mocking this allegation during his time as president, which caused substantial damage to her reputation. NBC reported he had been previously found liable for these statements.
The jury for this verdict was not concerned with deciding on the allegations against Trump, only on how much money in damages that Carroll deserved. According to NBC News, Carroll’s attorney Roberta Kaplan asked the jury for $24 million in damages and for “lots and lots of money” in punitive damages to deter Trump from defaming her further.
The reason the jury found $83 million was that they added on the punitive damages, which is meant to make an example of a defendant and deter future behavior.
What Are Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages are a special class of damages in civil proceedings that can be awarded by the court against a particularly bad defendant.
Usually, these are reserved to set an example for defendants who have demonstrated they will continue this behavior or have committed egregious acts that make them deserve to pay more than what damages are proven to be in court.
Women Have Accused Trump Before
Carroll’s lawsuit success comes in the context of dozens of women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct in the past. These accusations have been a public spectacle that was brought further into the spotlight after Trump started to run for president.
Trump denies any substantial wrongdoing on his part against any of the accusers. In the past, he has threatened to sue all women who made accusations against him, as well as the news publication The New York Times.
Results of Previous Accusations Against Trump
According to ABC News, in 2020, at least 18 different women had publicly accused Donald Trump of sexual misconduct. Sixteen of these 18 women have accused Trump of misconduct either before or during his first run for president.
This number has increased to 26 women since then, according to Business Insider in 2023. Carroll is the only accuser who has successfully won such a large amount of money from Trump by court victory in this way.
Leaked Trump Tape
One of the moments that thrust Trump’s sexual misconduct allegations into the public was the leaking of an “Access Hollywood” tape where Trump talked about grabbing women’s genitals.
This tape leaked right before the 2016 election took place, with many at the time thinking it would be enough to sink his campaign. However, Trump ended up winning in 2016 against Democrat challenger Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Echoes of 2016
This high-profile court victory against Trump draws parallels to the environment during the run-up to 2016. People are once again talking about Trump’s allegations of sexual misconduct in a presidential election year.
Unlike in 2016, these accusations come with a court ruling this time to bolster the claims. It is unclear whether this latest jury decision will impact Trump as he continues through the Republican primary.
Will This News Hurt Trump’s Chances in 2024?
By all available metrics, Trump is on the right path to becoming the eventual Republican nominee for the 2024 presidential election. The only major opponent to his nomination, Nikki Haley, is far behind him in polls in places like South Carolina (via New York Daily News).
It remains to be seen how the presumptive Democrat nominee, Joe Biden, might use this latest court judgment against Trump to establish an advantage with America’s voters.