(CNN) — A Manhattan federal jury found that Donald Trump sexually abused E. Jean Carroll in a luxury department store dressing room in the spring of 1996 and awarded her $5 million for battery and defamation.
Carroll alleged Trump raped her in the Bergdorf Goodman department store 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. Trump denied all wrongdoing.
Carroll filed the lawsuit last November under the “New York State Adult Survivors Act,” a state bill which opened a look-back window for sexual assault allegations like Carroll’s with long-expired statutes of limitation.
Trump did not attend the trial. Like any defendant in a civil case, he was not required to appear in court for trial or any proceedings and has a right not to testify in his own defense.
Carroll left the courthouse after the verdict without speaking to reporters.
Trump, on his social media site Truth Social, called the jury’s verdict a “total disgrace” and said it was “continuation of the greatest witch hunt of all time.” He repeated his claim he did not know who Carroll was.
Jurors urged not to identify themselves
Judge Lewis Kaplan dismissed the jury after the verdict and informed them they are now allowed to identify themselves publicly if they choose. However, the judge suggested they remain silent.
“My advice to you is not to identify yourselves. Not now and not for a long time,” Kaplan said. “If you’re one who elects to speak to others and to identify yourselves to others, I direct you not to identify anyone else who sat on this jury. Each of you owes that to the other whatever you decided for yourself.”
On the stand last week, Carroll testifying in chilling detail about what happened in 1996.
“I’m here because Donald Trump raped me, and when I wrote about it, he said it didn’t happen,” Carroll testified. “He lied and shattered my reputation, and I’m here to try to get my life back.”
Carroll acknowledged she is a registered Democrat and thinks Trump is “evil” and “vile” and was a terrible president, but testified that her political views have nothing to do with her pursuit of this lawsuit.
“I’m not settling a political score,” Carroll said. “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.”
Carroll’s attorney Michael Ferrara asked why she didn’t go public with her allegations when Trump first ran for president.
“I noticed that the more women who came forward to accuse him, the better he did in the polls,” she said.
Trump attorney Joe Tacopina, in cross examination, repeatedly asked questions about why Carroll did not scream during the approximately 3-minute alleged attack
“I’m not a screamer,” Carroll responded. “I was too much in panic to scream.”
“You can’t beat up on me for not screaming,” she told the defense lawyer. “Women who don’t come forward, one of the reasons they don’t come forward is they are asked why they didn’t scream. Some women scream, some women don’t. It keeps women silent.”
In his closing argument Monday, Tacopina said he knows Trump is a divisive figure, but that shouldn’t matter to jurors when reaching a verdict.
“People have very strong feelings about Donald Trump. That’s obvious,” Tacopina said. “There’s a time and a secret place to do that: it’s called a ballot box during an election.”
“What they want is for you to hate him enough to ignore the facts,” Tacopina added. “All objective evidence cuts against her.”
This story has been updated with additional details.