US Judge holds Trump liable in columnist Jean Carrol’s new defamation suit
Washington, Sep 6 (IANS) A federal US judge Lewis Kaplan has held former President Donald Trump liable in the defamation suit filed by columnist E. Jean Carroll, rendering a rude shock to Republicans prepping up an impeachment motion in Congress on September 12 on bribery charges against President Joe Biden and son Hunter Biden to deflect attention from the indictments handed down to Trump.
The judge ruled that the jury hearing Carroll’s defamation lawsuit will only need to decide how much money Trump will have to pay her, after the judge found the former President was liable for making defamatory statements, media reports said.
The judge’s ruling is a serious blow to Trump, who is facing numerous criminal indictments and civil lawsuits — many of them coming to a head as he hits the campaign trail in most of the southern states that back him and he boasts of his immense popularity going up with each and every indictment that prosecutors and juries give him.
Trump has already paid $5 million in damages to Carroll but she sued him for $10 million after he went on TV and aired his defamatory views questioning her character and integrity.
Republican caucuses are meeting shortly to discuss the bribery charges against Biden and his son and take it to the Congress to a vote so that their Congressional committees can frame the articles that can again be brought to the Congress for a vote to impeach Biden.
The charges related to alleged bribery payments made to Biden by the Ukrainian energy company Burisma during his Vice-Presidency and Hunter procuring a weapon (gun) under the influence of cocaine which is “illegal”.
Judge Kaplan said that a federal jury’s verdict earlier this year against Trump will spill over to the defamation case set to go to trial in January involving statements Trump made in 2019 about Carroll’s sexual assault allegations, CNN reported.
Carroll, a former magazine columnist, alleged Trump raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman department store in the mid-1990s and then defamed her while denying her claim.
In May after a two-week trial, a jury found Trump sexually abused Carroll and defamed her. In 2022 he claimed he didn’t rape her, didn’t know her, and that she wasn’t his “type”.
In that case, the jury awarded Carroll $5 million in damages.
“The truth or falsity of Trump’s 2019 statements therefore depends — like the truth or falsity of his 2022 statement — on whether Carroll lied about Trump sexually assaulting her,” the judge ruled on Wednesday.
“The jury’s finding that she did not, therefore, is binding in this case and precludes Trump from contesting the falsity of his 2019 statements,” CNN said.
Kaplan set the trial for January 15 and said it would be limited to damages. While her initial lawsuit was filed in 2019, the judge previously allowed Carroll to include comments Trump made at a CNN town hall meeting earlier this year.
Kaplan also rejected Trump’s demand that any future damages be capped, indicating the previous award shouldn’t be a factor for the jury. Carroll is seeking more than $10 million in damages.