U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan capped off an at times surreal day in federal court with one final piece of advice for jurors who had just found that former President Donald Trump must pay $83.3 million in damages to E. Jean Carroll.
“My advice to you is that you never disclose that you were on this jury, and I won’t say anything more about it,” Kaplan said after the verdict was read. “And I won’t say anything more about it.”
Kaplan’s suggestion is not entirely out of the ordinary, many judges advise jurors that while they can speak to the media after high-profile trials it may not be in the best interest to do so. But Trump is far from a typical defendant even by the celebrity-trial standard. He has repeatedly shown he will attack judges and even their staff if he perceives them as being unfair to his cause.
Kaplan repeatedly had to advise Trump and his lawyers to maintain proper behavior throughout the trial. This case was more limited in scope than the first civil trial, which established that the former president sexually assaulted Carroll in a department store in the 1990s. The first trial also found that Trump defamed Carroll when he commented on her allegations while he was president. Jurors in this case were asked to find the damages for that statement and subsequent insults Trump has since made.
Trump quickly said he would appeal the ruling, arguing without evidence that the case was “Biden Directed” despite part of it being due to his continued attacks on Carroll.
“Absolutely ridiculous! I fully disagree with both verdicts, and will be appealing this whole Biden Directed Witch Hunt focused on me and the Republican Party,” Trump wrote on his social media platform, Truth. “Our Legal System is out of control, and being used as a Political Weapon. They have taken away all First Amendment Rights. THIS IS NOT AMERICA!”