Carroll v. Trump: Second Defamation Trial Begins as E. Jean Carroll Seeks $10 Million in Damages

NEW YORK, NY – E. Jean Carroll’s second defamation trial against former President Donald Trump is set to begin on Tuesday. Carroll alleges that Trump defamed her by accusing her of lying about a sexual assault that allegedly took place in the mid-1990s. In a previous trial, a jury already found Trump liable for defamation in relation to the same accusation. The trial, known as “Carroll I,” was delayed due to legal challenges from Trump, but it has now cleared all hurdles and is ready to proceed. Carroll is seeking $10 million in damages for harm to her reputation.

In an interesting twist, Carroll’s first trial, known as “Carroll II,” has played a significant role in shaping the upcoming trial. The presiding federal judge, Lewis A. Kaplan, ruled that because of the jury’s verdict in Carroll II, Trump cannot argue that he did not defame Carroll. Therefore, the only matter for the jury to decide in Carroll I is the amount of damages to be awarded to Carroll for the harm caused by Trump’s defamation in 2019. It’s worth noting that the author of this article is good friends with Carroll, but the legal analysis provided is based solely on facts and case law.

To understand the two cases, here’s a breakdown: Carroll I was filed by Carroll in 2019, alleging defamatory statements made by Trump that same year. The lawsuit initially faced challenges when the Department of Justice (DOJ) intervened on Trump’s behalf, claiming that he was acting within the bounds of his office. However, the DOJ later reversed its position, allowing Carroll to proceed with her claims. Carroll II, on the other hand, was filed in 2022 and included a claim for sexual assault. In that trial, a jury found Trump liable for defamation and awarded Carroll $5 million in damages.

The legal concept of “collateral estoppel” has further complicated Trump’s defense. This principle holds that once an issue has been litigated and a final judgment has been entered, the parties involved are bound by that judgment and cannot re-litigate the same issue. Since the jury in Carroll’s first trial already found Trump liable for defamation and sexual abuse, he cannot present a defense based on those issues in Carroll I. Trump has attempted to cap Carroll’s damages to the $5 million verdict from Carroll II, but the judge denied his request.

Adding to Trump’s challenges is his continued defamation of Carroll. Just days before the trial, he shared numerous disparaging comments about her on his social media platform. His offensive conduct, extensively covered by the media, poses a potential hurdle in selecting an impartial jury. Despite the stakes, Trump has reportedly indicated that he plans to testify in his own defense, although he failed to appear in Carroll II.

As the trial commences, it remains to be seen how Trump’s prior courtroom antics will play out before Judge Kaplan. Known for running a tight ship in his courtroom, Kaplan is unlikely to tolerate any theatrics or efforts to undermine the trial process. Regardless of the outcome, it seems that Trump’s damages exposure is far from favorable. Carroll’s expert witness, professor Ashlee Humphreys, has already delivered compelling testimony in the first trial and played a crucial role in securing a $148 million verdict against Rudy Giuliani in a separate defamation case.

In conclusion, the second defamation trial against Donald Trump brought by E. Jean Carroll is set to take place, with Carroll seeking significant damages for harm to her reputation. The prior verdict in Carroll’s favor in her previous trial has shaped the upcoming proceedings, leaving only the amount of damages to be determined by the jury. With the judge’s strict adherence to the legal process and Trump’s history of defaming Carroll, the outcome of the trial could have significant financial implications for the former president.