Donald Trump appeals sexual abuse verdict against him
Former President Donald Trump is appealing a New York jury’s verdict awarding $5 million to a magazine columnist after the jurors concluded Trump had sexually abused her in the 1990s and defamed her last October.
A notice of appeal was filed Thursday in Manhattan federal court, the first step in a process that will move the civil case brought against Trump by writer E. Jean Carroll to a three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The notice was signed by Trump attorney Joe Tacopina, who said after Tuesday’s verdict that he believed there were multiple strong grounds for appeal.
The nine-person jury concluded after less than three hours of deliberations that Carroll had failed to prove it was more likely than not that Trump had raped her in the dressing room of a Bergdorf Goodman store in early spring 1996. But it did find that she had been sexually abused.
It also said in its verdict that Trump defamed Carroll in a social media statement last October.
Carroll sued Trump in November minutes after a temporary New York state law took effect allowing sexual attack victims to sue their abusers even if the abuse occurred decades earlier.
In the notice of appeal filed in the lower court Thursday where Judge Lewis A. Kaplan presided over the trial, Trump’s lawyers wrote that “notice is hereby given that Defendant Donald J. Trump appeals” to the 2nd Circuit.
Asked for comment, Tacopina said in an email: “Judge Kaplan has been overturned once already in Carroll v. Trump. We are confident it will be twice after this appeal is heard.”
He was referencing Kaplan’s rejection of an attempt to substitute the United States for Trump as the defendant in an earlier defamation lawsuit filed by Carroll for statements Trump made while he was president. The 2nd Circuit later ruled that Trump was an employee of the government for purposes of the lawsuit, but the appeal has not been fully resolved.
A lawyer for Carroll did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
The verdict was returned after a two-week trial in which Carroll testified that Trump sexually attacked her in the luxury department store’s dressing room after a lighthearted and flirtatious chance encounter that took them from the store’s entrance to the desolate sixth floor lingerie area, where Trump invited Carroll to help him shop for a gift.
She first publicly disclosed her experience in a 2019 memoir while Trump was still president. She said his public response was so harsh that it spoiled her reputation, cost her a 27-year job with Elle magazine and subjected her to mean social media attacks from his followers.
Trump, who is currently running for president as a Republican, did not attend the trial. He said he didn’t know Carroll, that he never encountered her at the department store, and he has repeatedly hurled insults at her, including at a videotaped deposition in October. Portions of that were played for the jury.
He repeated some of his harsh statements during a CNN town hall on Wednesday night.
Outside the courthouse on Tuesday, Tacopina said that he and Trump were “very confident on the appellate issues here.”
He said one of the issues to be appealed was the inclusion in the trial of the notorious 2005 “Access Hollywood” video in which Trump was captured on a hot mic speaking disparagingly about women and saying that celebrities can grab women sexually without asking because women let them do it.
“There were things that happened in this case that were beyond the pale,” Tacopina said.