Donald Trump appeals E. Jean Carroll’s $83.3 million defamation verdict

By Thomson Reuters Mar 8, 2024 | 10:29 AM

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Donald Trump on Friday appealed the writer E. Jean Carroll’s $83.3 million verdict in her recent defamation case, which arose from his branding her a liar after she accused him of raping her decades ago.

Trump said his appeal to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan will cover “all adverse orders, rulings, decrees, decisions, opinions, memoranda, conclusions, or findings” leading to the Jan. 26 verdict.

The former U.S. president also revealed he has lined up a $91.63 million bond from Federal Insurance Co for the appeal, reflecting the trial court’s usual practice that bonds equal 110% of judgments.

Trump previously argued he shouldn’t have to post any security because Carroll was sufficiently protected. Carroll had objected that this boiled down to Trump saying “trust me.”

The appeal stemmed from a Manhattan jury’s conclusion that Trump had defamed Carroll, a former Elle magazine columnist, in June 2019 by denying that he raped her in the mid-1990s in a Bergdorf Goodman department store dressing room in Manhattan.

Jurors awarded Carroll $18.3 million of compensatory damages, including $7.3 million for emotional harm and $11 million for harm to her reputation. They also awarded her $65 million of punitive damages.

Trump has said he shouldn’t owe anything, and alternatively that both sums should be reduced substantially.

He still has to post sufficient security for his expected appeal of last month’s $454.2 million verdict in a civil fraud case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Trump has offered to post a $100 million bond in that case, but James said any bond should cover the entire judgment.


U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who oversaw Carroll’s trial, has yet to rule on Trump’s motions to get a new trial and reduce the damages award.

In seeking a new trial, lawyers for Trump said the verdict was tainted by Kaplan’s decision to strike Trump’s testimony about his state of mind when he disparaged Carroll.

According to the lawyers, Trump’s statement that “I just wanted to defend myself, my family, and, frankly, the presidency” was relevant to whether he had acted maliciously, and that excluding it “all but assured” a big punitive damages award.

The lawyers also said Kaplan erred in instructing jurors about the burden of proof needed to show malice.

On Thursday, Kaplan rejected Trump’s bid to delay enforcing the verdict, and Trump’s suggestion he might suffer “irreparable injury” if forced to post a bond.

Last May, a different jury ordered Trump to pay Carroll $5 million over a similar October 2022 denial, finding he had defamed and sexually abused her.

Trump is appealing that decision, and set aside $5.55 million with the Manhattan court during that process.

Both appeals could take years. Carroll is 80, and Trump is 77.

Trump is the Republican candidate for this November’s presidential election.

He would face an expected rematch against Democratic incumbent Joe Biden, who beat him in 2020.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis)