Judge Turns Away Trump’s Request

Judge Turns Away Trump's Request

(LibertyInsider.org) – Former President Donald Trump’s attempt to appeal the $83 million verdict awarded in the E. Jean Carroll defamation case hit another roadblock last week. In a sprawling 18-page opinion published on April 25, Judge Lewis Kaplan denied Trump’s request for a new trial and summarily dismissed the motion, suggesting it had no basis in reality.

Kaplan concluded that the former president’s entire argument lacked merit “both as a matter of law and as a matter of fact.” He also strongly criticized Trump’s “malicious and unceasing attacks” on Carroll, stating that they posed a clear and direct threat to her personal safety.

In the original motion to appeal, Trump’s legal team accused the court of making multiple mistakes: excluding key evidence on his state of mind, failing to instruct the jury on common law malice (defined as defamation solely motivated by malicious intent toward the plaintiff), and assigning excessive compensatory and punitive damages.

On the jury instructions, Kaplan said that New York law did not require a plaintiff to prove common law malice before awarding punitive damages. Instead, he argued, he or she only needed to prove “malicious, wanton, reckless, or willful disregard” for their rights. Kaplan found that the facts presented by E. Jean Carroll justified the verdict.

The federal judge also firmly rejected Trump’s claim about excessive compensatory and punitive damages. The judge pointed to numerous prior defamation cases, all of which upheld comparable, or in some cases, even higher, damages. Calling the former president’s attacks on Caroll unprecedented in both scale and severity, he noted that it justified the amounts.

Lastly, Kaplan called Trump’s actions reprehensible and accused him of misusing the office of the presidency to broadcast lies to “millions of dedicated followers.” He accused Trump of purposefully and willfully defaming and threatening E. Jean Carroll from the “bully pulpit” in order to destroy her reputation and punish her for coming forward.

Collectively, Kaplan concluded, these elements wholly validated the damages assigned. They also proved his original decision was both lawful and constitutional, which justified his decision to decline the motion without merit.

Trump and his legal team have yet to officially respond to the rejection. However, the former president’s feelings on the case are anything but unknown. Shortly after Judge Kaplan handed down his ruling in January, Trump took to Truth Social to denounce it as “absolutely ridiculous” and a “Biden-directed witch hunt.”

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