Former President Donald Trump is appealing the $5 million judgment awarded by the Manhattan federal jury that found he sexually abused and defamed former magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll.
Trump’s lawyers filed the notice of appeal in the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday, hours after federal Judge Lewis Kaplan filed a written ruling endorsing the jury verdict and ordering Trump to pay Carroll the full sum. Kaplan presided over the civil trial in New York.
Trump had previously indicated he planned to appeal.
Carroll alleged Trump raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman department store in New York in the spring of 1996 and then defamed her when he denied her claim, said she wasn’t his type and suggested she made up the story to boost sales of her book.
The jury found him liable for battery based on the sexual assault claim, that he should pay about $2 million in damages to Carroll for the civil battery claim and that he should pay her nearly $3 million in damages for successfully proving her defamation claim against him.
While the jury found that Trump sexually abused her, sufficient to hold him liable for battery, the jury did not find that Carroll proved he raped her.
Trump denied all claims brought against him by Carroll and called the civil trial verdict “a total disgrace.”
Like any defendant in a civil case, Trump was not required to appear in court for trial or any proceedings and had a right not to testify in his own defense. He did not attend the trial, and his team contended the former president couldn’t get a fair trial in New York City.
During the trial, Carroll acknowledged she is a registered Democrat and thinks Trump was a terrible president, but testified that her political views have nothing to do with her case.
“I’m not settling a political score,” Carroll testified. “I’m settling a personal score because he called me a liar repeatedly and it really has decimated my reputation. I’m a journalist – the one thing I have to have is the trust of the readers.”
Trump’s lawyer, in his closing argument earlier this week, told jurors he knew Trump was a divisive figure, but told them that shouldn’t matter when reaching a verdict.
“People have very strong feelings about Donald Trump. That’s obvious,” attorney Joe Tacopina said. “There’s a time and a secret place to do that: it’s called a ballot box during an election.”
The verdict has no legal effect on Trump’s presidential candidacy. The former president denied the accusations and made dismissive comments about Carroll a little more than 24 hours after the jury’s finding during a CNN town hall in New Hampshire.
This story has been updated with additional details.
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