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Federal judge denies Trump's bid for new trial in E. Jean Carroll case

Trump's legal battles after defamation case
Breaking down Trump's legal battles after being ordered to pay $83 million to E. Jean Carroll 04:58

A federal judge has denied former President Donald Trump's request for a new trial in the civil suit brought by the writer E. Jean Carroll, who was awarded an $83.3 million judgment by a jury that found Trump liable for defamation in January.

The judge also denied a request to strike the damages in the case, which Trump had called "entirely out of proportion" with Carroll's reputational injury.

"Mr. Trump's argument is entirely without merit both as a matter of law and as a matter of fact," U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan wrote in an 18-page decision Thursday.

Roberta Kaplan, an attorney for Carroll who is unrelated to the judge, said she is "pleased with though not surprised by" the decision. 

"It was entirely reasonable for the jury to award E. Jean Carroll $83 million in damages given Donald Trump's continued defamation of Ms. Carroll during the trial itself, as well as his conduct in the courtroom where his 'hatred and disdain [were] on full display,'" Kaplan said, quoting the judge's decision.

An attorney for Trump said he intends to appeal the decision.

"We categorically disagree with Judge Kaplan's decision," said Alina Habba. "It ignores long-standing constitutional principles and is a prime example of the lawfare raging across this country. We are confident that this decision will be overturned by the Second Circuit."

Trump requested the new trial in a March filing that listed grievances about the trial and pretrial decisions, including the exclusion of evidence related to Trump's "state of mind" when he defamed Carroll.

A longtime advice columnist, Carroll wrote a story in New York magazine in 2019 accusing Trump of sexually assaulting her in a department store dressing room in the mid-1990s. 

Trump, who was president when the story was published, denied the allegations, calling Carroll a "whack job" and claiming he had never met her. 

He claimed in his March filing that the jury couldn't have reasonably concluded Carroll suffered damages as a result of his comments, because they were made five hours after the story was published. Trump's attorneys pointed to a trickle of negative feedback Carroll received during that "five-hour gap." Carroll's attorneys said she was subject to a sustained deluge of derision and threats after Trump weighed in.

Trump claimed the jury's findings were based on "'confusion, speculation or prejudice' as opposed to the 'evidence presented at trial.'"

Kaplan wrote that Trump's argument ignored that the jury and court concluded the statements Trump was sued over "were false, defamatory, and made with both actual and common law malice." 

"It ignores the fact that those defamatory statements were viewed between at least 85 to 104 million times," Kaplan wrote.

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