A firestorm ignited Friday after a federal jury ordered former President Donald Trump to pay E. Jean Carroll more than $83 million in damages after he denied allegations he raped her in the 1990s.
The jury decided Trump must pay $18.3 million in compensatory damages and $65 million in punitive damages. The jury’s verdict was announced Friday evening by federal Judge Lewis A. Kaplan.
A federal jury in New York City decided last year Trump was not liable for rape but was liable for sexual abuse and defamation. The former president was ordered to pay $5 million in that trial.
“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 posted on his Truth Social shortly after the verdict was read. “Our Legal System is out of control, and being used as a Political Weapon. They have taken away all First Amendment Rights.”
TRUMP ORDERED TO PAY MORE THAN $80 MILLION IN E. JEAN CARROLL DEFAMATION TRIAL
Trump added, “THIS IS NOT AMERICA!”
Carroll, who alleged Trump raped her at the Bergdorf Goodman department store across from Trump Tower in Manhattan sometime in 1996, was seeking $12 million.
Taking aim at Democrats who are “using the system” to target the former president, Rev. Franklin Graham, head of Samaritan’s Purse and The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, took to social media to show his support for Trump.
“Simply put, Democrats are using the system & changing the law to go after Pres. @realDonaldTrump. They hate this man so much & will try ANYTHING to get to keep him out of office,” Graham wrote Saturday. “President Trump is right about the trial when he said, “This is not America.”
Similar to that of Graham, Mike Davis, founder and president of the Article III Project, said the move by the jury was “part of the Democrats’ lawfare and election interference against Trump.”
“Another Democrat plaintiff, with more Democrat-funded attorneys, another Democrat judge, and another Democrat jury in another Democrat hellhole just awarded a legally flawed and an unconstitutionally punitive award against Trump,” Davis said in a statement. “No sane person on the planet actually believes Jean Carroll, who named her cat Vagina and fantasized about rape being sexy. Nor would any sane person believe her reputation is worth anywhere close to $6 — let alone $65 million.
“This is part of the Democrats’ lawfare and election interference against Trump,” he added. “Democrats know they can’t beat Trump on November 5, 2024. So they just want to impeach him twice, throw him in prison for life, bankrupt him, illegally gag him, and simply take him off the ballot. Unless judges want the courts to lose all legitimacy, this must stop.”
Conservative commentator and podcast host Benny Johnson also weighed in on the verdict.
“Another example of how the government has been weaponized against Donald Trump in [an] attempt to ruin the man,’ Johnson wrote on X.
OutKick founder Clay Travis also spoke out against the jury’s decision ordering Trump to pay Carroll.
“A left-wing NYC jury just awarded E. Jean Carroll $83 million dollars because they said Trump defamed her by denying he sexually assaulted her,” Travis stated. “So, now it’s defamation to claim you didn’t commit a crime? Banana republic we live in, y’all. Total banana republic.”
TRUMP DEFENDS HIMSELF ON THE STAND, BLASTS E JEAN CARROLL TRIAL: ‘THIS IS NOT AMERICA’
“Legit question, as a matter of law, how can you defend yourself against an accusation that you committed a crime if saying you didn’t commit the crime and the other person is lying about it is defamation? Under this judgement, Trump isn’t legally permitted to defend himself,” Travis added in a separate post.
Though several people took issue with the jury’s findings, others celebrated the verdict, including Republican presidential candidate and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.
“Donald Trump wants to be the presumptive Republican nominee and we’re talking about $83.3 million in damages,” Haley wrote on X. “We’re not talking about fixing the border. We’re not talking about tackling inflation. America can do better than Donald Trump and Joe Biden.”
Responding to Haley, Texas GOP Rep. Lance Gooden wrote on X, “It’s important to remember that Nikki Haley mega donor, Reid Hoffman, funded E Jean Carroll’s frivolous lawsuit against President Trump. Nikki should return his money and drop out of the race!”
Carroll also celebrated the ruling, saying in a statement that the jury’s verdict was a “great victory” for women who decide to come forward with claims.
“This is a great victory for every woman who stands up when she’s been knocked down and a huge defeat for every bully who has tried to keep a woman down,” she said. “This win is because of Robbie Kaplan and her dazzling team at Kaplan Hecker & Fink.”
Despite concerns from Trump’s legal team about how the court process played out, Kaplan noted in a statement that the verdict proves the “law applies to everyone.”
“Today’s verdict proves that the law applies to everyone in our country, even the rich, even the famous, even former presidents,” Kaplan said. “There is a way to stand up to someone like Donald Trump who cares more about wealth, fame and power than respecting the law. Standing up to a bully takes courage and bravery; it takes someone like E. Jean Carroll. We thank the jury for standing up for E. Jean and the rule of law.”
Trump, the 2024 GOP frontrunner, has repeatedly and vehemently denied the allegation. His denial resulted in Carroll slapping Trump with a defamation lawsuit, claiming that his response caused harm to her reputation.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
The jury found Carroll was injured as a result of statements Trump made while in the White House in June 2019.
The jury awarded Carroll $18.3 million in compensatory damages. The jury found Trump’s statements were made to harm Carroll and awarded her $65 million in punitive damages. In total, the jury said Carroll should be paid $83.3 million.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.