E. Jean Carroll’s Reputation Damage from Trump’s Defamatory Statements Could Cost up to $12.1 Million, Professor Tells Jury

New York City, NY – A federal jury in New York heard testimony on Thursday estimating that it could cost up to $12.1 million to repair the damage caused to writer E. Jean Carroll’s reputation by two defamatory statements made by former President Donald Trump in 2019. Northwestern University professor Ashlee Humphreys provided the analysis, which aimed to assess the number of people who saw and believed Trump’s statements denying the sexual assault allegations made by Carroll. The judge overseeing Carroll’s defamation suit against Trump has already ruled that the statements were defamatory, leaving the jury responsible for determining the appropriate damages. Last year, another jury found Trump liable for sexual abuse and for another defamatory statement.

In her testimony, Humphreys detailed the methodology used to quantify the harm to Carroll’s reputation as a journalist. She examined articles, tweets, and TV broadcasts referencing Trump’s defamatory statements and calculated the impressions and viewership. The analysis revealed that there were as many as 104,132,285 impressions on the first day these stories appeared, with approximately 24,788,657 viewers believing the claims.

Before Trump’s defamatory statements, Carroll was known as a truth-teller and a sassy advice columnist. However, after the statements, she was perceived as a liar and a Democratic operative, according to Humphreys. The cost to repair Carroll’s damaged reputation is estimated to range from $7.3 million to $12.1 million.

Trump, who attended the early days of the trial, was absent from the courtroom during Humphreys’ testimony as he was in Florida for his mother-in-law’s funeral. Carroll, in her testimony, highlighted the torrent of criticism and graphic threats, including rape and murder, she faced after coming forward with her allegations against Trump.

During cross-examination, Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, questioned Carroll about her increased notoriety and whether she was more well-known now after her trial victory over Trump in May 2023. Carroll acknowledged being more well-known but also mentioned being hated by a greater number of people. Additionally, negative tweets posted during the five-hour period between Carroll’s allegations becoming public and Trump’s first comment were displayed.

Carroll, under questioning by her own attorney, Roberta Kaplan, stated that although she received mean tweets, she did not receive rape or death threats or face accusations of being a Democratic operative at that time. Kaplan also played a video clip of Trump reiterating his denial of Carroll’s claims during a recent speech in New Hampshire. Throughout the trial, Carroll’s legal team has highlighted ongoing allegedly defamatory statements made by Trump and signaled their desire for the jury to award damages beyond reputation repair, seeking a sum that would discourage further defamatory remarks.

The trial between Carroll and Trump continues, with the jury tasked with determining the damages to be awarded to Carroll for the harm caused to her reputation by Trump’s defamatory statements.