E. Jean Carroll’s Lawyer Says This Trump Move Led To His $83.3 Million Downfall

Roberta Kaplan, the attorney for writer E. Jean Carroll, has recalled what convinced her client to sue Donald Trump and ultimately led to two separate juries ordering the former president to pay the advice columnist an astonishing $88.3 million in total damages.

Last year, a jury ordered Republican 2024 front-runner Trump to pay Carroll $5 million in damages after it found him liable for sexual assault, after she accused him of raping her in the 1990s, and defamation when he denied the claims by suggesting she was trying to cash in and was part of some kind of political plot to bring him down. A jury last week then ordered Trump pay Carroll $83.3 million for defamation for further comments he made.

In a lengthy interview that Politico published Thursday, Kaplan agreed with former federal prosecutor Ankush Khardori’s assessment that Trump had “benefited from the fact that there was a wave of women who came forward in 2016” with allegations of inappropriate behavior toward women, including sexual harassment and assault, “because then he was doing blanket denials.”

“Exactly, exactly,” said Kaplan.

“Which I imagine is much harder as defamation,” said Khardori.

“Exactly,” Kaplan repeated.

Then she explained, “E. Jean said in her deposition that she had an incident with Les Moonves once in an elevator in L.A. where he kind of pushed up against her, and she said he was like an octopus. She was asked in her deposition, in our case, ‘Why didn’t you sue Les Moonves?’ The answer was because a lot of women accused him, and he just did a blanket denial — a group denial of all of them… If Donald Trump had done that here, I wouldn’t have sued him.”

Moonves resigned from his longtime role as CEO of CBS in 2018 amid multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assault.

Carroll “also said if Donald Trump had said that it happened, but he thought she consented, she wouldn’t have sued him,” Kaplan added. “What was so offensive about it was the idea that she was just making it up to sell a book or two as part of a Democratic plot.”

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