As soon as E. Jean Carroll heard the verdict on Friday… $83.3 million in damages for defamation against Donald J. Trump: a world of possibilities opened up before her: How to use the money?
The vastly eclipsed amount the 5 million dollars awarded to her by a jury last spring in a different trial against Trump. It could be years before she sees the money, as Trump has said he will appeal, but she is already considering how she might use the money once she gets it.
“I’m not going to waste a cent of this,” he said. “Let’s do something good with it.”
Finding that out will take some time, he added. But he said he’ll treat himself to her Great Pyrenees and his pit bull. “Now I will be able to buy premium dog food,” she said.
Ms. Carroll, who appeared relaxed and happy in her lawyers’ offices on Saturday, spoke in her first interview since the Manhattan Jury Award in your favor a day before.
Carroll, 80, sued Trump, 77, for defamation after he called her a liar in June 2019, when she first publicly accused him. in a magazine article, of sexually assaulting her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room decades earlier. Trump continued to attack Carroll, in posts on his Truth Social website that lasted until the trial, as well as at press conferences and during the election campaign.
After Friday’s verdict, Trump launched a new attack on social media: “Our legal system is out of control and is being used as a political weapon.” But he avoided criticizing Mrs. Carroll, a silence that said it all. Carroll said she wasn’t ready to assume the former president was done with her.
“I can’t guess what Donald Trump will or won’t do,” he said. “I can’t guess.”
Told Saturday that Carroll would persist and hope to do something good with the money, one of Trump’s lawyers, Alina Habba, told a reporter what she had said Friday night: “We didn’t win today, but we will win.” . .”
Carroll said it wasn’t until Saturday morning that he finally began to enjoy what happened. “Yesterday was so overwhelming,” she said. “I couldn’t feel the euphoria.”
“This morning, around 8 or 9, having my first cup of tea, is when I really felt calm enough to feel what we had achieved.”
Carroll said the verdict was a victory especially for women.
“This victory, more than anything else, when we needed it most – after we lost the rights to our own bodies in many states – we put our flag in the ground in this case. The women won this one. “I think it bodes well for the future.”
Ms. Carroll praised the attorneys who have litigated her cases for more than four years, resulting in jury awards totaling nearly $90 million. Her lead attorney, Roberta A. Kaplan, suggested that Trump might think more now about the risks of additional attacks on Carroll.
“He cares about money,” Kaplan said. “And this is a lot of money for Donald Trump. And I don’t think he wants another sentence for the same amount..”
Carroll said that as the trial approached, she was scared at the prospect of confronting the man she had accused of assaulting her decades earlier. Her decision to publicly accuse him led to years of insults and ridicule; She called her a liar and said he didn’t know her.
“I was terrified for the next few weeks,” Carroll said. But when she began testifying on Jan. 16, with Trump at the defense table, she said she felt emboldened. “He is nothing in front of me,” she said.
He remembered the fable of the emperor: “When you really face that man, he is simply a naked man,” he said. “It’s the people around you that give you power.”
It took jurors less than three hours of deliberation Friday to strip him of some of that power. The verdict included $18.3 million to compensate Carroll for his ordeal and $65 million in punitive damages after the jury found Trump had acted with malice.
In 2018, Ms. Carroll testified during the trial that she earned about $50,000 a year writing freelance articles.
He said that while testifying, he occasionally glanced at Trump, who did not look back. He said he found answering his lawyer’s questions about Trump satisfactory. “I knew he heard me,” Carroll added.
He said he felt a special bond with the seven men and two women who had formed the anonymous jury in the trial and who had not given any clues during the trial about how they viewed the case.
“I felt like they were my brothers and sisters on that jury,” Carroll said. “They were like me. “They were New Yorkers.”
Shawn G. Crowley, another of her attorneys, said that after the verdict, jurors walked past them as they left the courtroom, and at least three smiled and nodded at Ms. Carroll.
As Carroll and her attorneys defend their verdicts on appeal and continue to fight for the full sentence, she said she was inspired to use the money to make real changes.
“I can’t say what they are yet. “We will all talk and come up with a big plan.”
But, he said, his own future (and that of his pets) was secure.
“You know, the dogs and I are going to get along great in our shack,” he said, adding, “but we’re going to do something great with this money.”
Kate Christobek and Mary Cramer contributed with reports.