Former president Donald J. Trump outside Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, prior to his departure to a two-day trip to Des Moines, Iowa, May 31, 2023.
Kyle Mazza | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Donald Trump put up $5.6 million as security while the former president appeals a civil verdict that he sexually abused writer E. Jean Carroll in the 1990s and defamed her decades later, a court filing Friday revealed.
If Trump loses the appeal, Carroll will collect the $5 million a jury awarded her in the case in May, or any adjusted judgment, according to a joint stipulation submitted by his lawyers and attorneys for Carroll.
But if Trump wins his appeal, he will get the security deposit back, “with any interest earned on such funds” while they were held in an account under the court’s control, that stipulation says.
Former Elle magazine advice columnist E. Jean Carroll watches as Joe Tacopina, lawyer of former U.S. President Donald Trump, makes closing arguments during a civil trial where Carroll accuses Trump of raping her in a department store dressing room in the mid-1990s, and of defamation, New York, May 8, 2023.
Jane Rosenberg | Reuters
If the appeals court or Supreme Court sends the case back to U.S. District Court in Manhattan for further proceedings, the funds will remain where they are until any award to Carroll “becomes final and un-appealable,” according to the filing.
Judge Lewis Kaplan approved the arrangement later Friday afternoon.
After news of the deal broke, the attorney George Conway, a harsh critic of Trump, tweeted “He. Couldn’t. Get. A. Bond.”
Conway suggested that Trump was unable to secure an appeal bond from a third party because “no one wants to chase him for the collateral” required to obtain the bond in the first place if Trump lost his appeal.
Trump’s lawyer Joseph Tacopina told CNBC, “Not at all!” when asked if Conway’s claim was accurate.
Tacopina said Trump “didn’t want to waste the money on securing a bond,” which would have required Trump to pay the bond guarantor a premium for the service, which typically is 1% of the value of the bond.
“He had the cash,” Tacopina said of Trump.
Lawyer of former US president Donald Trump, Joe Tacopina speaks to the press outside the Manhattan Criminal Court in New York on April 4, 2023 after Trump’s hearing.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images
Carroll, in her lawsuit, claimed that Trump, the leading candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, raped her in a dressing room of the Bergdorf Goodman store in the mid-1990s after a chance encounter there.
She also claimed he had defamed her last fall in statements he made while denying her allegations.
After a trial in May, a jury found that Trump, 77, was liable for sexually abusing Carroll — but not for raping her. Jurors also found he had defamed her.
Trump has asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit to overturn the verdict.
Separately, he has asked Kaplan to order a retrial solely on the questions of monetary damages.
In a June 8 court filing, Trump’s lawyer Joseph Tacopina argued that the $2 million jurors awarded 79-year-old Carroll for Trump’s sexual abuse of her was “grossly excessive” under case law. Tacopina said Carroll’s damages for that claim should be “in the low six-figure range” at best.
The defense attorney also argued that the $2.7 million in compensatory damages Carroll was awarded should be sharply reduced to no more than $368,000.
In a letter Friday to Kaplan, Tacopina wrote that his law firm is currently holding $5.6 million of Trump’s money in a trust account and will deposit those funds into a court-controlled account if the judge agrees with the stipulation.
Trump faces the possibility of being ordered to pay Carroll even more money next year.
Kaplan has scheduled a trial to begin on January 15 for another lawsuit Carroll filed against Trump. In that case, Carroll is alleging Trump defamed her with comments he made about her while president after she first went public with her rape claims.
Carroll is seeking damages of at least $10 million in that case. Kaplan, this month, allowed her to amend her existing lawsuit to include comments Trump made about her in May on CNN, a day after he lost the first trial.
Trump was criminally indicted earlier this month by a federal grand jury in Miami on charges related to his retention of hundreds of classified documents at his Florida residence after he left the White House in January 2021. He has pleaded not guilty in that case.
He also has pleaded not guilty in a New York state case to nearly three dozen criminal counts of falsifying business records in connection with hush money payments made before the 2016 presidential election to two women who said they had sex with him.
Trump is separately under criminal investigation by federal prosecutors for efforts to overturn his loss in the 2020 election, and by an Atlanta prosecutor for his attempt to get Georgia officials to reverse President Joe Biden’s victory in that state that year.