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E. Jean Carroll defamation trial against Donald Trump

E. Jean Carroll reacts during questioning by her lawyer Roberta Kaplan at the Manhattan Federal Court in New York on Wednesday. Jane Rosenberg/Reuters

E. Jean Carroll explained how she thought last year’s verdict against Donald Trump would put a stop to his attacks against her – but then he continued to disparage her at a CNN town hall one day later.

“For a few glorious hours I thought this is it,” she said, recalling after the jury found Trump liable in the first trial last May. But then, “Mr. Trump went on a CNN town hall and repeated the same lies,” she testified.

Trump’s attorney Alina Habba again objected to testimony about Trump statements outside the two from 2019 at issue in this trial. Judge Lewis Kaplan instructed the jury that statements Trump made at CNN’s town hall the day after the trial verdict in May are still relevant to punitive damages in this trial and whether Trump acted with malice.

Some background about Trump’s comments: At the CNN town hall, Trump claimed that Carroll made up the story and dismissed the verdict against him.

“I have no idea who this woman. This is a fake story, made up story,” Trump said at the town hall. “We had a horrible Clinton-appointed judge. He was horrible. He allowed her to put everything in. He allowed us to put nothing in. This is a fake story.”

Trump continued attacking Carroll when pressed about the verdict at the town hall. “And I swear and I’ve never done that, and I swear to – I have no idea who the hell – she’s a whack job,” he said.

The jury saw Trump’s comments to CNN’s Kaitlan Collins at the town hall event the day after the verdict in their first trial. Carroll said she learned of his comments on CNN the next morning.

“I was sound asleep the night before. I went to bed very early,” Carroll said.

The comments at the town hall were different than his social media posts about her, she said. “He’s doing it to a large crowd and drawing laughs about sexual assault.”

Carroll took a long pause before telling the court how she felt hearing the laughs. “I felt worthless,” she said.


January 2024