For the first time in years of litigation, the legal team at E. Jean Carroll has finally released an estimate of what she will ask a jury to award her client in defamation damages if he finds out that former President Donald Trump raped her and lied about it: up to $2.7. million.
This figure was calculated by Ashley Humphreys, a professor at the prestigious Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
Humphreys put that figure at the high end of the reputational damage spectrum for Carroll because of Trump’s Truth Social message, describing his accusations as a “hoax” and a “lie.” Humphreys’ lower estimate for damage to Carroll’s reputation is $368,183.78, and the accurate upper figure is $2,763,107.82.
That’s a far cry from the total universe of civil damages Trump could be held liable for if a jury finds in Carroll’s favor.
Former federal prosecutor Mitchell Epner, who now practices media law as an associate of Rottenberg Lipman Rich PC, pointed out that many other categories remain unresolved.
“Professor Humphreys’ testimony was only libel damages, what it would cost to buy as much publicity as Trump’s statements received,” Epner told Law&Crime. “This does not include damages for the alleged rape or damages for lost earnings due to bad publicity.”
Humphreys was not asked to calculate sexual assault damages under New York’s Adult Survivors Act, which is Carroll’s primary cause of action and a matter outside the witness’s area of expertise. . The reputational damage that Humphreys awarded would only go to the subject of compensation.
Carroll is also seeking punitive and exemplary damages, as well as “pre- and post-judgment interest, costs and any other additional relief.”
His legal team did not specify the total amount of damages sought in court documents or opening statements.
The revelation is important, however, as it gives a first look at the potential extent of Trump’s liability if he loses. If a jury finds that Trump defamed Carroll by denying he raped her, it would be hard for them to avoid finding him responsible for the alleged assault.
Earlier in the day, Carroll’s friend, Carol Martin, a local television presenter, told a jury that she and “Ask E. Jean” columnist built their careers on the now-shuttered America’s Talking network. Martin said they had a close friendship during those years, between 1994 and 1996.
During the latter part of this period, Carroll claims that Trump sexually assaulted her in the dressing room of a Bergdorf Goodman store in Manhattan. Carroll said she told two of her friends about it almost immediately, first author Lisa Birnbach and then Martin. Birnbach previously testified that Carroll called her about the alleged encounter within five to seven minutes, describing it as a “fight.”
To her ears, Birnbach said, Carroll’s account of Trump penetrating her with his fingers and penis sounded like “rape.” Birnbach said she offered to escort Carroll to the police, and Carroll refused. Martin testified that she gave the opposite advice, telling Carroll that Trump would “bury” her through his attorneys.
“I’m not proud that that’s what I told him, truth be told,” Martin said.
As Martin tells it, Carroll seemed “agitated” and “anxious” during the reveal, and while Carroll wasn’t crying, she was visibly upset. Carroll didn’t use the word “rape”, only that Trump “attacked” her, Martin said.
Trump’s legal team argues that Carroll, Birnbach and Martin essentially conspired to plague the former president with politically or financially motivated rape charges — or both. Her attorney Joe Tacopina asked Martin about her longstanding disdain for Trump, whose election Martin once said left her “devastated.”
But Martin said she was initially reluctant to be publicly associated with the case.
“It was difficult because my family members were concerned about identification,” Martin said.
During cross-examination, Tacopina questioned Martin about his candid texts to his daughter once Carroll came forward, believing that columnist ‘Ask E. Jean’ had turned his ‘quest’ into a ‘lifestyle’ , enjoying the “adulation” of his followers. and went “too deep” when she crossed the line of litigation.
Carroll’s attorney Roberta Kaplan, however, said the same text string corroborates Martin’s account of when her friend told her about the alleged meeting with Trump. Martin authenticated another text marveling at what was prompted by “a simple conversation 25 years ago,” saying it alludes to his conversation with Carroll about Trump.
Witness testimony ended Thursday with Carroll’s former boss, Elle brand editor Roberta Meyers. Meyers told jurors that Carroll was loved by her readers — and never told her about her rape allegations against Trump. The ex-Elle boss said she learned about the claims when the rest of the world did, in an excerpt from New York Magazine.
With his testimony, Carroll and Trump closed their case. Senior U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan has given Trump the opportunity to request that his case be reopened if he wishes to testify by filing such a request by 5 p.m. ET on Sunday.
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