In another legal setback for former President Donald Trump, a federal judge on Wednesday ruled that Trump is liable for damages in a defamation lawsuit from veteran magazine writer E. Jean Carroll.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan comes several months after a jury found that Trump had libeled Carroll in a 2022 statement and awarded her damages of $5 million. On Wednesday, Kaplan ruled that the jury’s ruling would carry over to an additional lawsuit from Carroll related to statements Trump made about her in 2019.
Kaplan scheduled a damages trial for Jan. 15 of next year in which the court will only decide how much Trump owes Carroll for the end-of-year 2019 statement.
“The truth or falsity of Mr. Trump’s 2019 statements therefore depends — like the truth or falsity of his 2022 statement — on whether Ms. Carroll lied about Mr. Trump sexually assaulting her,” Kaplan wrote in his ruling. “The jury’s finding that she did not therefore is binding in this case and precludes Mr. Trump from contesting the falsity of his 2019 statements.”
The judge also dismissed a counterclaim raised by Trump alleging that Carroll had made false statements during the case that damaged his reputation.
Carroll has long accused Trump of raping her in a department store dressing room in 1996. In 2022, she filed a defamation lawsuit against Trump for calling her a liar, culminating in the jury awarding her $5 million in damages. According to Kaplan’s ruling, the jury’s finding that Carroll had not lied about Trump’s actions will carry over to the separate lawsuit regarding his 2019 statements.
Trump has referred to his setbacks as a “Miscarriage of Justice” and “a total Scam” on social media.
“The trial was very unfair, with the other side being able to do and present virtually anything they wanted, and our side being largely and wrongfully shut down by an absolutely hostile, biased, and out of control judge,” he wrote in July.
It remains to be seen how much Trump will be required to pay in damages for the 2019 statements. Until then, Carroll’s case stands as a reminder of the consequences of making false and defamatory remarks against others.