Donald Trump is at risk of paying millions more dollars to former Elle columnist E. Jean Carroll as she has a “strong” case to sue him again for defamation, according to legal experts.
The former president has already been found liable by a New York jury for having sexually abused Carroll at a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in the 1990s, then defaming her character while denying the assault took place. On May 9, a jury ordered the former president to pay Carroll $5 million in compensatory and punitive damages.
One day after the civil trial ruling, Trump appeared at a CNN town hall where he once again attacked and insulted Carroll as a “whack job,” denied he ever met her and suggested the abuse claim was a “made-up story.”
In response, Carroll is seeking an amendment to a separate defamation lawsuit she filed against Trump in 2019—which has been delayed through numerous appeals—in order to include the comments made during the town hall. She is now seeking an additional $10 million in monetary damages because the former president is continuing to publicly insult her.
Camron Dowlatshahi, a Los Angeles-based entertainment, employment and defamation attorney, said that Trump is only hurting himself further by not reining in his public comments on the civil trial, which play in Carroll’s favor.
“She has a strong case. He is doubling down on the lie that he never met her, despite the fact that a) she has a picture of them together and b) judgment has already been entered against him for sexual assault,” Dowlatshahi told Newsweek.
“Although the statement is similar to Trump’s previous denials, it is a new statement, i.e. a new publication, and therefore subjects him to additional liability for defamation.
“Generally, someone who has been found liable for defamation exercises some care and thoughtfulness in their subsequent public comments. That certainly does not apply to Donald Trump,” Dowlatshahi added. “I would not be surprised if he, again, fails to appear at trial and loses again.”
Newsweek reached out to Trump’s legal team via email for comment.
In the amendment complaint, Carroll’s lawyers said that Trump’s post-verdict comments at the May 10 CNN town hall show “malice” toward Carroll since it is “hard to imagine defamatory conduct that could possibly be more motivated by hatred, ill will, or spite.”
The complaint adds: “This conduct supports a very substantial punitive damages award in Carroll’s favor both to punish Trump, to deter him from engaging in further defamation, and to deter others from doing the same.”
Legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Joyce Alene also suggested that Trump’s remarks at the CNN town hall may result in him paying millions more to Carroll.
5/Why is this significant? The new claims could cost Trump even more money than the $5 million he already owes Carroll. That’s because a jury could decide Trump’s conduct is outrageous—he defamed her again just one day after the first jury rendered its verdict against him. AND,
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) May 23, 2023
“That’s because a jury could decide Trump’s conduct is outrageous—he defamed her again just one day after the first jury rendered its verdict against him,” Alene tweeted.
“That sort of flagrant abuse could support a substantial punitive damages award. Punitive damages punish a defendant who has acted maliciously & discourage others from doing the same. A jury could award Carroll damages in an amount that exceeds what she got in the first case.”
However, there are no signs that Trump is planning on stopping his attacks on Carroll.
One day after news of Carroll’s $10 million amendment emerged, Trump said on Truth Social that the abuse incident was a “Fake, Made up Story,” adding “I wouldn’t want to know or touch her.”
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