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Trump loses retrial bid in defamation case

Former US President Donald Trump has lost a retrial bid in a case in which a jury found him liable for sexually abusing and defaming columnist E Jean Carroll.

E. Jean Carroll, 79, had accused Trump of raping her in a Manhattan department store dressing room in the mid-1990s, and then branding the incident a hoax in an October 2022 post on his Truth Social platform.

The jury found Trump guilty of battering the columnist, but stopped short of finding the former President guilty of rape.

Trump has been ordered to pay $5 million in damages.

The former President’s attorneys had argued in their bid for a new trial that “the Court should order a new trial on damages or grant remittitur because contrary to Plaintiff’s claim of rape, the Jury found that she was not raped but was sexually abused by defendant during the 1995/1996 Bergdorf Goodman incident”.

In a 59-page decision on Wednesday, US District judge Lewis Kaplan ruled the jury did not reach “a seriously erroneous result”, in calculating the amount of damages, as argued by Trump’s lawyers, and dismissed his request for a new trial.

Judge Kaplan, who presided over the original trial, wrote that the trial evidence demonstrated Trump “raped” Carroll in the plain sense of the word.

“The finding that Ms Carroll failed to prove that she was ‘raped’ within the meaning of the New York Penal Law does not mean that she failed to prove that Mr Trump ‘raped’ her as many people commonly understand the word ‘rape’,” the BBC quoted Judge Kaplan as saying.

“Indeed, as the evidence at trial recounted below makes clear, the jury found that Mr Trump in fact did exactly that.”

Roberta Kaplan, the lawyer representing Carroll, celebrated the ruling.

“E Jean Carroll looks forward to receiving the $5 million in damages that the jury awarded her,” she told the BBC, adding that her client also looked forward to “continuing to hold Trump accountable” in a further defamation trial scheduled to begin early next year.

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