E. Jean Carroll’s lawyer used Donald Trump’s own words against him on Friday, urging the jury in his defamation trial to make the former president “pay dearly.”
Attorney Roberta Kaplan said during her closing arguments that the trial is not just about stopping Trump from continuing to defame Carroll, but also about showing that no one is above the law. She pointed out that Trump has continued to make false claims about Carroll, despite already owing Carroll $5 million in damages from their previous trial.
Kaplan said they were seeking at least $24 million in damages, more than double the $10 million minimum Carroll sought at the start of the trial. Carroll’s team is now asking for at least $12 million to repair Carroll’s reputation and another $12 million for emotional harm caused.
Kaplan told the jury she would let them determine how much more Trump owes in punitive damages. Kaplan reminded them, though, that Trump had said under oath he is worth billions of dollars.
“It will take an unusually high punitive damages award to have any hope of stopping Donald Trump,” she said.
This is the second time that Trump’s own words have come back to bite him in this trial. On Thursday, Carroll’s lawyers played a clip of Trump’s video deposition that he sat for last year, ahead of his bank fraud trial in New York. In the clip, Trump brags that his Doral resort in Miami “could be worth $2.5 billion by itself.” When Kaplan said Trump claimed he was worth billions, she was referring to this testimony.
These boasts could drive up the amount he will ultimately owe Carroll in damages. Legal analyst Lisa Rubin explained on MSNBC last week that the jury “is allowed to consider how much Donald Trump is worth.”
Trump already owes Carroll $5 million in damages after a jury in May unanimously found him liable for sexual abuse and battery against Carroll in the mid-1990s and for defaming her in 2022 while denying the assault. It looks like that number is about to go up significantly—and Trump only has himself to blame.