Following the court order for former President Donald Trump to pay E. Jean Carroll $83.3 million, Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, vehemently defended her decision to represent him. Addressing the media on Friday, Habba expressed no regrets about representing Trump, stating it was “the proudest thing” she could do.
Habba criticized the New York legal system and Attorney General Letitia James, suggesting a political motive behind the prolonged trials involving Trump, especially given his lead in the polls. She also accused the state of New York of targeting Trump due to his political success.
In a detailed outburst, Habba claimed that the trial was unfairly conducted. “Before I walked into court that judge decided that every single defense President Trump had, we were not allowed to raise in front of the jury.”
“It is in writing and I encourage the journalists, the real journalists, to take the minute to look at his orders,” said Habba. “There was no proof, and I couldn’t prove that she didn’t bring in the dress. There was no DNA. There was no expert. My experts were denied.”
Habba condemned the restrictions placed on Trump’s defense, including the editing of questions and responses during his testimony. She vowed to appeal the decision and overturn the jury’s verdict, framing the trial as another example of what Trump has termed “witch hunts” and “hoaxes.”
Carroll, a former magazine columnist, filed the lawsuit following her 2019 allegations that Trump had raped her in a department store dressing room in the mid-1990s, a claim Trump has persistently denied.
“But we are in the state of New York. We are in a New York jury, and that is why we are seeing these witch hunts, these hoaxes, as he calls them, and this is another one of them, brought in New York, in states where they know they will get juries like this,” Habba said. “It will not deter us from fighting. And I assure you, we didn’t win today, but we will win.”
Despite the unfavorable outcome, she remained confident in their chances on appeal, citing the court’s conduct as grounds for overturning the verdict.
The verdict on Friday afternoon also elicited a fiery response from the former President, who took to social media to express his vehement disagreement and intention to appeal. Trump labeled the jury’s verdict as “absolutely ridiculous,” denouncing it as part of a “Biden Directed Witch Hunt” against him and the Republican Party.
In his post, Trump condemned a politically motivated abuse of the legal system, claiming it has stripped away fundamental First Amendment rights.
The jury, comprised of nine members, also awarded $65 million in punitive damages, recognizing that Trump’s continued criticisms of Carroll, both during and after his presidency, were “malicious” in nature.
The verdict came after a compelling argument by Carroll’s legal team, which focused on Trump’s sustained remarks about her. These remarks, they argued, were not only defamatory but also part of a larger pattern of behavior by Trump towards women who have accused him of misconduct.
His pledge to appeal signals a continuation of the legal saga. Legal experts anticipate a complex appeals process, given the high-profile nature of the case and the substantial punitive damages awarded.
The verdict was announced following heated final arguments during which Trump abruptly left the courtroom. He did come back for the closing arguments presented by his lawyer but exited the courthouse at 4 p.m.(EST), prior to the jury announcing their decision.
Judge Lewis Kaplan informed the jurors that they were no longer bound by his directive to keep their identities confidential. However, he advised, “my advice to you is that you never disclose you were on this jury.”
Carroll’s attorneys were reportedly visibly emotional, embracing her and each other, with some wiping away tears. When the $65 million figure was announced in the press room, there was an audible gasp from the reporters.
Exiting the courthouse, Carroll was seen arm in arm with her legal team, smiling broadly for the cameras.