Expert estimates Trump damaged Carroll’s reputation by $12.1 million

A professor told a federal jury in New York on Thursday that it may cost up to $12.1 million to repair the harm done to writer E. Jean Carroll’s reputation as a result of two defamatory statements made by former President Donald Trump in 2019.

Ashlee Humphreys, a Northwestern University professor, testified on Thursday to determine how many people saw and believed two claims Trump made denied s*xually assaulting Carroll or ever meeting her.

The judge handling Carroll’s lawsuit against Trump has already found that the words were defamatory, and the jury will now assess how much damages she should receive. Last year, a second jury found Trump guilty of s*xual assault and defamation.

Expert estimates Trump damaged Carroll's reputation by $12.1 million

Trump was in the courtroom for the first two days of the damages trial, but not on Thursday, when Humphreys outlined how she quantified Carroll’s harm. The former president was in Florida for his mother-in-law’s funeral.

Carroll said in a 2019 New York magazine article that Trump assaulted her in a department store changing room in the 1990s. Trump vehemently disputed the allegations. After coming forward, Carroll received a barrage of criticism and explicit threats, including rape and murder, some of which were shown to the jury on Wednesday.

Humphreys stated that she assessed the harm to Carroll’s reputation by studying articles, tweets, and TV broadcasts that mentioned both of Trump’s defamatory statements. She then calculated how many people saw the pieces or segments on the same day they aired. She determined that Carroll’s journalistic image had been “severely damaged.”

She stated that those pieces received up to 104,132,285 impressions on their first day of airing or publication. She estimated that up to 24,788,657 viewers trusted the claims.

Expert estimates Trump damaged Carroll's reputation by $12.1 million

Humphreys said an examination of remarks made about Carroll prior to Trump’s defamatory statements revealed she “was known as kind of a truth-teller, a sassy advice columnist.” Humphreys later said she was seen as “a liar, a Democratic operative.”

Humphreys calculated that rehabilitating Carroll’s reputation would cost between $7.3 million and $12.1 million.

Carroll had already given almost a day of testimony in the lawsuit on Thursday. During cross-examination, Trump’s attorney Alina Habba noted that celebrities praised Carroll following her trial victory versus Trump in May 2023, when a jury awarded her $5 million. Habba asked Carroll if she is more well-known now than she was before making her charges.

“Yes, I’m more well-known, and I’m hated by a lot more people,” Carroll told reporters.

Habba also displayed critical tweets sent by users between the time her charges were made public and Trump’s initial response.

Expert estimates Trump damaged Carroll's reputation by $12.1 million

Under questioning by her own attorney, Roberta Kaplan, Carroll stated that she was the target of unkind tweets during that time period, but she received no rape or death threats and was not accused of being a Democratic operative working against Trump.

Kaplan also showed a brief video clip of Trump denying Carroll’s claims during a speech in New Hampshire on Wednesday. Throughout the trial, Kaplan and other Carroll attorneys have cited continuous allegedly defamatory statements made by Trump, including in recent days, and suggested that they want the jury to award more than just the sum required to restore Carroll’s reputation.

They have asked the jury to determine “how much money he should pay to get him to stop doing it.”

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