A New York jury has found former US president Donald Trump liable for the sexual abuse of magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll in 1996.
Carroll (79) sued Trump (76) last year, when she alleged the former president raped her in the luxury Bergdorf Goodman store changing room on Manhattan’s Fifth Ave.
The former ELLE columnist also claimed that Trump defamed her by calling her “a complete con job” when she went public with the allegation in 2019. While the nine jurors rejected Carroll’s claims that she was raped, they found Mr Trump liable of sexual abuse.
Trump, who did not attend the trial, has been ordered to pay Carroll a total of $US5 million ($A7 million) in damages.
Since the 1970s, the former president has been accused of sexual harassment or assault by more than two dozen women but this is the first time he has been held to account by a civil court.
Trump has vehemently denied Carrolls claims and is due to appeal against the verdict.
Shortly after the verdict was announced, Trump took to his Truth Social platform, writing: “I have absolutely no idea who this woman is. This verdict is a disgrace—a continuation of the greatest witch hunt of all time.”
Carrolls, on the other hand, released a statement that read: “I filed this lawsuit against Donald Trump to clear my name and to get my life back. Today, the world finally knows the truth.
“This victory is not just for me but for every woman who has suffered because she was not believed.”
The verdict comes amidst a barrage of legal battles for Trump. Just weeks ago, Trump was indicted in Manhattan over hush money allegedly paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels. The former president is also facing three separate investigations, including one over alleged election interference, another over the handling of classified documents, and a third into his role in the January 6 Capitol attack.
With the 2024 presidential elections on the horizon, the charges have not come at a good time for Trump.