Trump Seeks to Challenge $83.3 Million Defamation Award in E. Jean Carroll Lawsuit, Attorney Says

New York City – Former President Donald Trump is expected to challenge the $83.3 million defamation award granted to E. Jean Carroll, who accused Trump of sexually assaulting her in a department store changing room in the mid-1990s. Litigation attorney Colleen Kerwick predicts that Trump’s first course of action will involve filing post-trial motions to reduce the verdict. She explains that U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan could issue a conditional order of remittitur, giving Carroll the choice between accepting a reduced award or pursuing a new trial if the court deems the current verdict excessive.

Any reduction of the award would require Judge Kaplan to find that the amount exceeds what a reasonable jury could have awarded. Kerwick notes that even if the motion for remittitur is denied, Trump’s lawyers could expand the record on appeal but cannot introduce new evidence. The appellate court’s role would be to review Judge Kaplan’s decisions for any abuse of discretion or errors in matters of law.

Kerwick cautions that overturning the verdict may prove challenging since Judge Kaplan is highly respected by the appellate court and has previously served on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. She suggests that another avenue Trump may explore is challenging the constitutionality of the Adult Survivors Act, the legislation Carroll used to file her lawsuit. The law allows individuals in New York to sue their abusers or institutions that protected them, regardless of the statute of limitations. Kerwick questions whether the legislation violates due process and infringes on vested rights protected by existing statutes of limitations.

While the path to overturning the verdict seems difficult, Kerwick advises Trump to consider hiring more experienced appellate counsel to navigate the legal process. She also mentions that Trump has already challenged the Adult Survivors Act at the district court level and anticipates the possibility of the U.S. Supreme Court taking up the question.

In the original trial, a jury found Trump liable for defamation and ordered him to pay Carroll $5 million. Subsequently, Carroll filed a second defamation case against Trump, leading to the recent additional award of $18.3 million in compensation and $65 million in punitive damages. Trump, who has consistently denied Carroll’s allegations, responded to the verdict on his Truth Social website, expressing disagreement and stating that he will appeal the decision. He criticized the legal system, claiming it is being used as a political weapon that suppresses First Amendment rights.

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