MANHATTAN, NEW YORK—On Friday, January 26, former President Donald J. Trump was ordered to pay journalist E. Jean Carroll $83.3 million in a defamation case over an alleged crime that took place over two decades ago.

Elizabeth Jean Carroll, now 80, claims that Donald J. Trump raped her in either 1995 or 1996 in the dressing room of Bergdorf Goodman, an upscale department store in New York. Multiple reports indicate that Carroll doesn’t remember when the alleged assault took place.

The statute of limitations has run out for Carroll to be able to charge Trump with this crime.

In an interview with People Magazine, Carroll indicated that the reason she didn’t press charges sooner was because her mother was dying. 

Carroll alleges she may have had non-consensual sex in a public dressing room in New York with Donald J. Trump.

Trump denied claims of sexual relations with Carroll, saying, “She’s not my type.” Carroll then filed a defamation suit against Trump. 

This was not a rape trial. The statute of limitations already ran out on any chance of that. Carroll could make that claim whether it was true or not.

Reports indicate that this was a defamation lawsuit. According to Find Law, “The government can’t punish a person for defamation because it’s not a criminal offense.” FindLaw goes on to explain that an individual would have to prove that they were harmed by the defamation and that would be a civil suit.

According to Minc Law, New York law requires that the alleged victim show; “The defendant made a false statement, published to a third party without authorization, and that the defendant was negligent in making the statement.” In addition, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff.

As a journalist, E. Jean Carroll was a success in her field. She wrote an advice column for Elle Magazine from 1993-2019. It was one of the longest-running of its kind in  American history. Between 1995-1996 was the host and producer of Ask E. Jean which aired on NBC and MSNBC.

In 2019, Carroll authored a book entitled, “What Do We Need Men For, A Modest Proposal”. In her book, Carroll accuses Donald J. Trump and Les Moonves of sexually assaulting her. Both men denied those claims but did not file libel suits against her for defamation of their characters.

On May 9, 2023, Donald J. Trump was ordered to pay E. Jean Carroll $5 million after being found liable for defamation and sexual assault. 

It is not clear how on January 26, 2024, Trump was fined $83.3 million in a defamation lawsuit when he was already tried for that in May of 2023.

According to the Double Jeopardy clause in the 5th Amendment of the Constitution it states:

“No person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall a private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” — The U.S. Constitution, 5th Amendment