Former President Donald Trump famously loves to boast about his wealth. But on Friday, that braggadocious, big-money talk seemed to finally catch up with him—to the tune of $83 million.
That’s how much Trump now owes writer E. Jean Carroll after a jury ruled in her favor in a massive defamation case, following Trump’s derisive denials of Carroll’s claim that he sexually assaulted her in a Manhattan department store in the 1990s.
The total amount exceeded even the sky-high claim Carroll’s lawyers had asked for. And that may be, in part, because Carroll’s legal team used Trump’s own bluster about being a super rich guy against him.
On Thursday, Kaplan played a videotape for the jury of a Trump deposition given last year in another unrelated case—the New York Attorney General’s sweeping fraud lawsuit against Trump—in which Trump said his Doral golf resort “could be worth $2.5 billion by itself.” Later, in closing arguments, Kaplan reminded the jury that Trump has claimed to be worth billions.
Kaplan told the jury that Carroll deserved $12 million just to repair her reputation from the harm caused by Trump, and another $12 million for the emotional harm.
But that’s just for compensatory damages. Kaplan left the other side of the equation—punitive damages—up to the jury. But she urged them to make it count.
“It will take an unusually high punitive damages award to have any hope of stopping Donald Trump,” Kaplan said.
The jury “is allowed to consider how much Donald Trump is worth,” legal analyst Lisa Rubin explained on MSNBC last week. “If you’re trying to punish someone, if they only have $10 in their pocket, that’s very different than punishing someone who has hundreds of millions—if not billions—of dollars in their pocket.”
Ironically, the New York Attorney General’s lawsuit against Trump accuses him of manipulating the valuations of his properties, in some cases allegedly boosting them by outrageous amounts, in order to secure better terms on loans and other financial perks.
Carroll hailed her victory after court adjourned on Friday.
“This is a great victory for every woman who stands up when she’s been knocked down, and a huge defeat for every bully who has tried to keep a woman down,” she said in a statement.
Carroll has already beaten Trump in court once before. Last May, Trump lost a similar trial in which the jury found Trump liable for sexually abusing Carroll and defaming her, and awarded her $5 million.
Trump’s motorcade left the courthouse 20 minutes before the verdict was announced on Friday.
Moments after the damages were announced, Trump released a statement calling it “absolutely ridiculous!” He vowed to appeal.