Donald Trump will pursue an appeal after a jury in heavily Democratic Manhattan found him liable for battery and defamation in a rape case brought by a woman whom he says he never met.
A jury in the civil case ordered Trump Tuesday to pay $5 million for defamation and sexual abuse, but he was found not liable for raping author E. Jean Carroll in a department store fitting room decades ago.
In social media posts, Trump ripped the "Trump-hating" judge and called the trial a "scam" and a "continuation of the greatest political witch hunt of all time."
"We'll be appealing this decision, it's a disgrace. I don't even know who this woman is," Trump said.
Carroll claimed she had a chance encounter with Trump at a Bergdorf Goodman department store sometime in the 1990s that ended with Trump raping her in a fitting room. The two playfully shopped for lingerie before Trump cornered Carroll and attacked her, she claimed.
Trump's lawyer Joe Tacopina highlighted outlandish details and holes in Carroll's narrative during the trial, noting she could not recall the year the alleged attack happened and that she did not notify police afterward.
At one point, Tacopina asked Carroll whether she had ever seen an episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit in which a woman is raped in the fitting room of a Bergdorf Goodman. Carroll said she had not and that the similarities to her story were an "astonishing" coincidence.
While Trump did not testify, the jury heard an October deposition from the former president in which he said would not have been attracted to Carroll or her lawyer. He dismissed Caroll's "ridiculous, disgusting" story and said it was implausible that he would assault a woman in a busy department store.
“It’s just made up,” he said.
Carroll's lawyers sketched a broad narrative depicting Trump as a sexual predator, tying the alleged rape to the notorious Access Hollywood tape and claims from two other women who testified that Trump assaulted them.
While Carroll's lawyers called the infamous tape Trump's "confession" of rape, Tacopina said Trump's "crude" remarks about aggressively pursuing women were about "women letting you do something." He dismissed the accounts from the other two women as irrelevant.
Carroll first went public with the story in a 2019 book, decades after the alleged attack would have occurred. She sued Trump for defamation after Trump called her a liar.
Later, Carroll sued Trump for battery under New York's newly enacted Adult Survivors Act, which allows civil claims to be brought for alleged sexual assaults after the statute of limitations has expired.
"He’s firm in his belief, like many people are, that he cannot get a fair trial in New York City based on the jury pool. And I think one could argue that’s an accurate assessment based on what happened today," Tacopina said Wednesday.