$5 Million in Damages

Donald Trump’s legal problems are growing deeper.

Yesterday, a jury found the former president liable for the sexual abuse and defamation of the magazine writer E. Jean Carroll, ordering him to pay her $5 million. The case was a civil trial, which means that Trump is not subject to prison time. But the verdict indicates that jurors believed Carroll’s claim that Trump assaulted her in a department store dressing room in the mid-1990s.

Carroll also accused Trump of raping her. The jury ruled against Carroll on that count, finding insufficient evidence to support her allegation.

Today’s newsletter will walk through the details of the case, the reactions to the verdict and the potential political consequences.

The case

At the heart of the lawsuit was Carroll’s account of her encounter with Trump, which she described in detail during the trial. She said that she saw him outside the Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan nearly three decades ago, and that he had asked her to help find a gift for a female friend. The two bantered while walking through the store, and he asked her to try on a gray-blue bodysuit from the lingerie section. She declined and told him to put it on instead. Trump then motioned her into a dressing room, where he threw her against the wall, used his weight to pin her down and raped her, according to Carroll.

The episode “left me unable to ever have a romantic life again,” Carroll said. (She was able to sue after so much time had passed under the Adult Survivors Act, a New York law that provides victims of abuse a one-time opportunity to sue the accused.)

To make her case, Carroll and her lawyers relied on Trump’s history of comments denigrating women. They pointed to the “Access Hollywood” tape, released during the 2016 election, on which he had boasted that he could grab women by their genitals without their permission. “When you’re a star, they let you do it,” Trump said. He stood by those remarks during a deposition in the Carroll case.

Carroll’s lawyers argued that Trump’s comments showed he was capable of the assault that she had accused him of. The jury, composed of six men and three women, concluded that the allegations of sexual abuse, but not of rape, were more likely to be true than untrue, holding Trump liable.

Trump denied the accusations. He did not testify, and his lawyers called no witnesses as a defense in the trial. He previously told reporters that the allegations could not be true because Carroll was not his “type.”

Trump promised to appeal the verdict. “I have absolutely no idea who this woman is,” Trump posted yesterday on Truth Social, his social media platform. “This verdict is a disgrace — a continuation of the greatest witch hunt of all time!”

The reactions

Trump is set to appear live on a CNN town hall tonight, where he will take questions from voters.

Many of Trump’s political rivals and opponents, including Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida and former Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina, stayed quiet about the verdict. Vivek Ramaswamy, an entrepreneur and author running for president, defended Trump: “I’ll say what everyone else is privately thinking: If the defendant weren’t named Donald Trump, would there even be a lawsuit?”

One 2024 candidate did criticize Trump. “The jury verdict should be treated with seriousness and is another example of the indefensible behavior of Donald Trump,” Asa Hutchinson, Arkansas’s former governor and a longtime Trump critic, said.

The political impact

It is not clear how the verdict will affect Trump’s presidential campaign. His poll numbers against DeSantis, his main potential rival in the Republican primary, improved even after a Manhattan grand jury indicted Trump on 34 felony charges of falsifying business records.

But Trump’s advisers are not making a similar prediction after the Carroll verdict, my colleagues Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Swan wrote.

Trump is almost certain to confront more legal problems before the 2024 election. The Manhattan trial could start as soon as next January. Trump is also under investigation for his involvement in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election and for his handling of classified documents.

More on the verdict

More than a dozen women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct, but Carroll’s is the only allegation that a jury has affirmed.

Why was Trump liable for sexual abuse, not rape? New York law gave jurors three types of battery to consider.

While the verdict may have been foreseeable, how Republicans will respond is less clear, David French writes in Times Opinion.

The verdict is a reminder that the legal onslaught against Trump can’t be deflected with lies, Michelle Goldberg writes in Times Opinion.



President Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy did not reach a consensus over the debt ceiling. They agreed to meet again.

Representative George Santos, the New York Republican whose finances have been under investigation, faces federal criminal charges.

A recent poll showed Trump leading Biden in the 2024 race. It was an outlier, Nate Cohn writes, but its message is clear: Don’t underestimate Trump.

Lawmakers in Texas are pushing voting restrictions that only apply to Harris County, a Democratic stronghold that includes Houston.

Senate Democrats asked the billionaire Harlan Crow for a full accounting of his gifts to Justice Clarence Thomas.

Florida officials demanded revisions to school textbooks mentioning socialism and Black Lives Matter protests.


A naval guardsman killed at least three people at a synagogue during a Jewish pilgrimage in Tunisia.

The Israeli army launched airstrikes on the Islamic Jihad armed group in Gaza, killing three of its leaders and 10 civilians, Palestinian officials said. Here’s a guide to the group.

Imran Khan, Pakistan’s former prime minister, was arrested on corruption charges. He accuses the military of conspiring against him.


The U.S. will end its Covid emergency tomorrow, winding down programs that began when the virus dominated everyday life.

Women should have regular mammograms starting at age 40 rather than 50, an expert panel said.

Other Big Stories

Tucker Carlson, the former Fox News host, said he would start a show on Twitter. That could violate his deal with the network.

New York City, where about half of middle schoolers are not proficient in reading, is changing how it teaches the subject.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art will hire a team to scour its collections for looted treasures.

A woman wrote a children’s book to help her sons process their father’s death. Now she is accused of killing him.


If cities want to survive the unpredictability of our climate, they should accommodate an unpredictable ecosystem, Ben Wilson argues.

A new Netflix docudrama depicts Cleopatra as culturally Black, Gwen Nally and Mary Hamil Gilbert write.

Here are columns by Jamelle Bouie on mass shootings and Thomas Friedman on Vladimir Putin.


Beyond crunchy: Cuisines around the world prize texture as much as taste.

Hiatus: Some women are taking the summer off from dating apps.

Metropolitan Diary: Mic drop at the opera.

Health: How to spot — and remove — skin tags.

Canine needs: Walking your dog with a harness is safer than leading them by the collar.

Advice from Wirecutter: The best Mother’s Day gifts.

Lives Lived: Grace Bumbry’s vocal range and transcendent stage presence made her a towering figure in opera and one of its first, and biggest, Black stars. She died at 86.


N.B.A. playoffs: The Nuggets and Sixers earned 3-2 series leads with victories last night.

Women’s soccer: It’s notable enough to be the first Native American to play in the N.W.S.L., but Madison Hammond is much more.

An uncertain future: The Oakland A’s agreed to their second land deal in a month for property in Las Vegas, where the franchise plans to move.


Best in show

Buddy Holly, a petit basset griffon Vendéen, took the top prize at the Westminster Dog Show. He’s the first of his breed — better known as P.B.G.V., because that is easier to say — to do so. (Second place went to Rummie, a Pekingese whose breeder and handler, David Fitzpatrick, has produced two previous best in show winners, including Wasabi, the 2021 champion.)

“I have dreamed of this since I was 9 years old,” said Buddy Holly’s owner and trainer, Janice Hayes. She said the dog was “the epitome of a show dog; nothing bothers him.” Now he gets to relax and go back to his daily life, which involves hanging out with “his girlfriends,” Hayes said.

“He never has a bad day”: The Times’s Sarah Lyall visited Striker, a Samoyed who was a crowd favorite at last year’s show.

Two Times photographers went behind the scenes. Do not miss their pictures.


What to Cook

The secret ingredient in this spaghetti Bolognese is Worcestershire sauce.

What to Watch

“Dealing With Dad” is a lighthearted movie about generational trauma and chronic depression.

What to Listen to

Here are six new songs you should hear.

Now Time to Play

The pangram from yesterday’s Spelling Bee was windfall. Here are today’s puzzle and the Bee Buddy, which helps you find remaining words.

And here are today’s Mini Crossword, Wordle and Sudoku.

Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. — German

P.S. Emma Goldberg, who covers the future of work, wants to hear how readers’ jobs have changed in the past few years.

Here’s today’s front page.

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