The former president has already been found liable for defaming Carroll while he was in the White House over her sexual abuse claims.
Former President Donald Trump is attending his defamation damages trial in New York on Tuesday, a move that could bring him face to face with E. Jean Carroll, the writer he has been found civilly responsible for sexually abusing in the 1990s and whom he has repeatedly mocked and ridiculed since she first came forward four years ago.
In a post to his Truth Social website on Tuesday, Trump said he would be attending the lower Manhattan trial after his victory in Monday night’s Iowa caucuses. He attacked the case as a “giant election interference scam” and said, “I had no idea who this woman was.”
Trump arrived in the courtroom at 9:40 a.m. ET, and took his seat at the defense table. Carroll was seated two rows in front of him and did not turn around. It’s believed to be the first time the two have been in the same room in almost 30 years.
Trump’s quick hop from a victory speech on Monday night in Iowa to a courtroom in New York on Tuesday morning is a microcosm of the former president’s coming year, when he’s expected to oscillate between campaigning and court cases, including four pending criminal trials.
The judge has already found Trump liable for defaming Carroll in remarks he made as president in 2019 mocking her sexual assault claim, so the jury’s only task will be to decide how much money she should get for those remarks, as well as others he made after a different jury found him liable for sexual abuse and defamation last year. In a post on Truth Social Tuesday morning as Trump was sitting in the courtroom, he blasted Carroll’s account as “fabricated lies and political shenanigans,” and that the judge has “been unable to see clearly because of his absolute hatred of Donald J. Trump (ME!).”
Jury selection is expected to take a few hours in the morning and will then be followed by opening statements in a damages trial that could result in Trump’s being hit with a judgment in the tens of millions of dollars.
Carroll is seeking at least $10 million for the damage Trump caused to her reputation and most likely several times that amount in punitive damages for continuing to publicly call her account of his sexual abuse a “con job” on TV and social media and at his rallies.