Donald Trump’s lead lawyer broke up with an Australian TV reporter just after a jury found the ex-president had committed sexual assault.
The jury of three women and six men found that in 1996, after three hours of deliberation in New York, Trump injured advice columnist E. Jean Carroll in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in Manhattan.
The ex-president was ordered to pay more than $5 million in damages after the jury also found Trump defamed her by calling her a liar after she went public with the incident in a 2019 memoir.
Trump’s lead attorney, Joseph Tacopina, was swamped by a media scrum, including veteran 7News, Tim Lester reported as he fled New York Federal Court after the loss on Wednesday morning.
Already agitated, Ms. Tacopina took aim at a camerawoman walking beside him and said, “Get that camera out of my goddamn face.”
When Mr Lester tried to question Mr Tacopina, his microphone accidentally hit the lawyer’s shoulder, sparking another outburst
“Don’t put that microphone on my shoulder,” Mr. Tacopina snapped.
“Okay, okay, but are you even worried about his social media comments?” Mr. Lester asked the lawyer as he was pushed aside by security.
After asking a second time, Mr. Tacopina responded by saying, “I already said no, do you speak English or not?”
Lester’s question was about Trump’s comments on his social media platform Truth Social, where he wrote in all caps, “I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHO THIS WOMAN IS. THIS JUDGMENT IS A SHAME – A CONTINUATION OF THE GREATEST WITCH-HUNT OF EVER!’
‘VERY UNFAIR PROCESS!’ read a separate message.
Just before the verdict, Trump claimed in another post that he was not allowed to “defend” himself on the stand, but that his lawyers instead failed to file an application by the deadline set by the judge for 5 p.m. Sunday.
“Awaiting a jury decision on a false accusation where, despite being a current political candidate and leading everyone else in both parties, I am not allowed to speak or defend myself,” Trump wrote.
After Lester asked Mr. Tacopina if he disowned the social media posts that “interrupted his own case,” his microphone touched the lawyer again.
“You hit me with that mic and I’m going to break it (sic),” said Mr. Tacopina.
Lead attorney for Donald Trump’s defense against E. Jean Carroll, Joseph Tacopina (pictured), snaps at 7News journalist Tim Lester just after the ex-president’s loss in court
Mr. Tacopina threatened to break Mr. Lester’s (pictured) microphone that hit him twice after the reporter tried to question him as he exited New York Federal Court
Unlike Mr. Tacopina, Ms. Carroll was visibly elated by the verdict after leaving the courthouse.
Although she initially evaded the media, her attorney, Roberta Kaplan, later issued a statement calling the verdict “a victory, not just for E. Jean Carroll, but for democracy itself, and for all survivors everywhere.”
Ms. Carroll sued for battery under the Adult Survivors Act, a law passed in New York that allowed a one-year period for claims of sexual assault that would normally fall outside the statute of limitations.
Her plea to defamation was a result of Trump calling her a liar after publicity for her memoir “What Do We Need Men For?” that revealed the attack in 1996.
She claims that Trump attacked her after asking her to help him choose a gift for a woman.
Trump “shut the door and pushed me against the wall,” Carroll said. She told the court: “I pushed him back, and he pushed me back against the wall, banging my head.
“He put his shoulder against me and held me against the wall.”
Ms. Carroll then claims that Trump had sexually assaulted her before she ran out of the room.
Donald Trump took to his social media platform Truth Social to describe the court loss as ‘a witch hunt’
Unlike the agitated Mr. Tacopina, Ms. Carroll (pictured) was visibly ecstatic about the verdict that awarded her more than $5 million in damages for sexual assault and defamation
In his opening remarks, Mr. Tacopina told the jury, “It’s okay to feel the way you feel” about Trump.
“You can hate Donald Trump, that’s okay,” he said.
“But there’s a time and a secret place for that, it’s called the ballot box, not a court.”
He later described Mrs. Carroll’s story as “incredible” and an “insult to justice.”
He said: ‘She is abusing the system by making a false claim of rape for money, political reasons and for status. In doing so, she minimizes real rape victims, real rape victims and exploits their pain and suffering.’
The jury awarded US$2 million in punitive damages and US$20,000 in punitive damages for the battery charge. The jury awarded $1 million in damages for the defamation and $1.7 million for restoring her reputation.
They awarded an additional $280,000 in damages for the defamation.