- A federal jury on Friday ordered Donald Trump to pay $83.3 million in damages to E. Jean Carroll.
- During the defamation trial, Trump and his lawyer often frustrated the presiding judge.
- Two legal experts said Trump’s bad behavior in court played a role in the jury’s decision.
A federal jury on Friday awarded former President Donald Trump $83.3 million in a defamation lawsuit filed against him by E. Jean Carroll, ending a bitter week-and-a-half trial.
The jury deliberated for less than three hours before reaching its verdict, which included $18.8 million in compensatory damages and $65 million in punitive damages.
The substantial amount comes after Trump’s brazen display of legal indecency during the trial. many times fear against Carroll online and goes head-to-head with U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in his highly anticipated term a short testimony at the end.
Throughout the trial, Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, also repeatedly angered Kaplan. The judge impatiently reprimanded him 14 times according to the basic law threatened to send him to jail for interrupting only on one day and even on Friday.
John Jones, a former federal judge in Pennsylvania, told Business Insider that the behavior of Trump and his legal team made a difficult defense for the former president nearly impossible.
“Juries don’t like it when lawyers and litigants are rude to the judge or ignore his admonitions,” said Jones, now president of Dickinson College.
Juries tend to bond with the presiding judge, Jones said, adding that they often come to see the judge as a kind of protector. Thus, Trump and Habba’s blatant disregard for Kaplan during the trial did not go unnoticed by the jury.
“These are regular people playing by the rules,” defamation lawyer Chris Mattei, who won a $1.5 billion jury verdict in Alex Jones’ defamation trial, said of the jury.
“And then they see a man giving the middle finger to the court?” Mattei added. “No, ordinary people don’t want that.”
Jones said Trump shocked the courtroom Friday when he abruptly left the courtroom because Carroll’s attorney claimed he was disrespecting the jury, a final act of shyness that left a bad impression on the jury.
“It’s really disrespectful,” Jones said. “It seems arrogant and naughty.”
Trump lost a separate civil lawsuit against Carroll last year when a jury in the same courtroom found him liable for sexually abusing him in the mid-1990s and agreed that the former president defamed Carroll by calling him a liar.
The most recent civil lawsuit involved a lawsuit filed in 2019 over two comments made by Trump that denied Carroll’s claims. The $83.3 million settlement is on top of the $5 million in damages Carroll won in a May 2023 lawsuit.
As a jury in a 2023 civil trial found Trump liable for sexual harassment and defamation against Carroll, all that was decided in this month’s trial was the amount of damages.
Legal experts said Friday’s verdict showed the jury was serious about holding Trump accountable in the case.
“You can’t just get a pass on someone who demonstrates the law,” Mattei said. “Our system doesn’t work like that.”
Legal experts said the $83.3 million in damages would put a significant dent in the former president’s finances, and that Trump is obligated to pay almost all or most of it.
Immediately after the verdict, Habba appealed the ruling and said Trump planned to appeal the ruling.
And Trump turned to Truth Social.
“Absolutely ridiculous! I totally disagree with both verdicts and will appeal this entire Biden-led Witch Hunt directed at me and the Republican Party,” Trump wrote on the social media platform.
But both Jones and Mattei said it was unlikely to be overturned because the jury’s decision appeared legally strong.
“It’s a verdict we’ll see,” Mattei said.
In announcing the Carroll case, Trump boldly claimed her brand value was worth “billions and billions of dollars.” The former president’s words could come back to bite Carroll, who owes him millions, because Trump will have a hard time proving his bankruptcy, Jones said.
“In all likelihood, he has the money to pay,” Mattei said. “It’s also really important because the public needs to see that sentences can be enforced in order to trust the legal system.”