Former President Donald Trump is appealing the $5 million judgment awarded by a Manhattan federal jury that found him guilty of sexual abuse and defamation against former magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll.
Trump’s legal team filed a notice of appeal in the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday, shortly after Judge Lewis Kaplan endorsed the jury’s verdict and ordered Trump to pay Carroll the full amount. Kaplan oversaw the civil trial in New York.
Trump had previously indicated his intention to appeal the decision.
Carroll alleged that Trump raped her in a New York Bergdorf Goodman department store in the spring of 1996 and subsequently defamed her when he denied her claim, stating that she wasn’t his type and suggesting she fabricated the story to boost book sales.
The jury found Trump liable for battery based on the sexual assault claim, ordering him to pay approximately $2 million in damages to Carroll for the civil battery charge and nearly $3 million in damages for successfully proving her defamation claim against him.
While the jury held Trump responsible for sexually abusing Carroll, it did not find sufficient evidence to support her claim of rape.
Trump vehemently denied all allegations brought against him by Carroll and dismissed the civil trial verdict as “a total disgrace.”
As a defendant in a civil case, Trump was not required to appear in court for the trial or any related proceedings. He also had the right not to testify in his defense. Trump did not attend the trial, and his legal team argued that the former president could not receive a fair trial in New York City.
Throughout the trial, Carroll acknowledged her political affiliation as a registered Democrat and her negative views of Trump’s presidency. However, she asserted that her political stance had no bearing on the merits of her case.
In his closing argument, Trump’s lawyer, Joe Tacopina, acknowledged the divisiveness surrounding Trump but urged the jurors to remain impartial in reaching their verdict.
“People have very strong feelings about Donald Trump. That’s obvious,” Tacopina said. “There’s a time and a secret place to do that: it’s called a ballot box during an election.”
It is important to note that the verdict does not impact Trump’s eligibility to run for president. Despite the jury’s findings, the former president continues to deny the allegations and made derogatory remarks about Carroll a little over 24 hours after the verdict was announced during a CNN town hall in New Hampshire.
Trump also ripped Kaplan on social media Wednesday, labeling the “Clinton appointed Judge” a “terrible person” and “completely biased.”
“The whole Rigged Hoax is yet another TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE, a continuation of the greatest political Witch Hunt of all time!!!” Trump wrote on his Truth Social site.
Follow Kyle Becker on Twitter @kylenabecker.