Trump Seeks Stay on Execution of $83 Million E. Jean Carroll Judgment

His attorneys argued that post-trial motions would likely ’substantially' reduce the final judgment, and he would suffer irreparable harm without the stay.
Trump Seeks Stay on Execution of $83 Million E. Jean Carroll Judgment
Former President Donald Trump receives applause during the Black Conservative Federation Gala in Columbia, S.C., on Feb. 23, 2024. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
Caden Pearson

Former President Donald Trump’s legal team filed a motion on Friday seeking a stay on the execution of an $83 million judgment against him for 30 days to allow for post-trial motions that may impact the penalty figure.

The motion, citing Rule 62 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, asks for either an “unsecured” or “partially secured” stay of the court’s Feb. 8 judgment until 30 days after the resolution of President Trump’s post-trial motions.

The motion requests to grant President Trump the right to “post a bond in an appropriate fraction of the amount of the judgment.”

The attorneys state that the post-trial motions will be filed no later than March 7.

They additionally ask for a temporary administrative stay of the judgment pending the resolution of the post-trial motions, or, alternatively, for the court to issue a ruling on Friday’s motion by March 4.

“As multiple courts have held, an unsecured stay may be appropriate before the court rules on post-trial motions where the amount of the judgment is uncertain and likely to be affected by the disposition of post-trial motions,” the filing reads.

The attorneys argue that the post-trial motions would likely substantially reduce, “if not eliminate,” the final judgment amount. They lay out their argument for why the compensatory damages should be reduced from $7.3 million to “no more than $125,000,” in line with similar cases.

“President Trump’s post-trial motions will present several meritorious issues, but for purposes of this stay motion, President Trump focuses on two issues that the Court has not yet had occasion to consider—the excessiveness of the punitive damages award and the compensatory damages award for emotional injury,” the filing reads.

In January, a jury awarded Ms. Carroll over $83 million after she claimed the former president defamed her when he denied allegations of sexual assault.

Purported death threats against Ms. Carroll, which she admitted to deleting, are a key reason why her lawyers asked the jury to award her tens of millions of dollars in damages.

President Trump has maintained his innocence and has vowed to appeal the ruling.

Damages ‘Excessive,’ ‘Likely’ to Be Reduced

The motion argues that the punitive damages in the judgment were “plainly excessive,” and the ultimate judgment was likely to be reduced pending the resolution of post-trial motions.

“The jury’s verdict, as reflected in the judgment, awards $7.3 million in compensatory damages for emotional injuries, plus $11 million in compensatory damages for the reputation repair program, for a total of $18.3 million in compensatory damages,” the filing reads.

“The jury then awarded $65 million in punitive damages, creating a punitive-to-compensatory ratio of 3.6:1,” it continues.

The motion references prior lawsuits in the district in which excessive awards were ultimately reduced post-verdict, even in cases where the conduct was “egregious.”

The attorneys cited Turley v. ISG Lackawanna, Inc., which involved a three-year-long “pattern of extreme racist harassment and death threats.”

In that case, the Second Circuit concluded that a 2:1 ratio of punitive damages was the maximum allowable in the circumstances, but that a 1:1 ratio would be the maximum allowable in most cases.

The court remitted the $25.32 million in compensatory and punitive damages awarded by the jury to $5 million in that case and found that even that exceeded “the bounds of reasonableness.”

President Trump’s attorneys argue that the 1:1 ratio in Turly demonstrates that the compensatory damages awarded against the former president “are unquestionably high.”

Writer E. Jean Carroll leaves a Manhattan courthouse after a jury found former President Donald Trump liable for sexually abusing her in a Manhattan department store in the 1990s, in New York City on May 9, 2023. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Writer E. Jean Carroll leaves a Manhattan courthouse after a jury found former President Donald Trump liable for sexually abusing her in a Manhattan department store in the 1990s, in New York City on May 9, 2023. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Carroll ‘Failed to Offer Any Evidence’ of Distress

The motion outlined the three levels of emotional injury as “garden variety,” “significant,” and “egregious.”

The attorneys characterized Ms. Carroll’s claims of emotional distress as “neatly” matching “garden variety” emotional distress claims, in which the evidence for such mental suffering comes only from the plaintiff’s testimony and is not supported by medical or other particularized evidence.

Attorneys for the former president argue that Ms. Carroll “failed to offer any evidence that her alleged distress was of any significant severity or duration, or that it resulted in any medical, physical, or clinical consequences—or even any extreme emotional effect.”

“[Ms. Carroll’s] evidence as to how the June 21 and 22 statements caused her emotional distress consisted solely of her own testimony about her personal feelings. She did not testify about any physical symptoms of her purported mental distress, much less any long-term physical or emotional effects,” the filing reads.

“She did not present any testimony from a medical expert, did not offer any medical records into evidence, and did not testify that she sought any medical treatment for any emotional harm she may have suffered as a result of the June 21 and 22 statements.”

The motion argues that the reputational and emotional injuries suffered by Ms. Carroll “are quintessential forms of ‘imprecise’ injury” similar to those in the Turley case.

“Remitting the punitive damages award would thus be consistent with similar recent decisions of this Court,” the filing reads.

President Trump’s attorneys argue that the compensatory damages of $7.3 million “far surpasses” the bounds of permissible damages and go beyond comparable awards in the other cases in the district.

The motion argues that this warrants a substantial reduction in the final figure.

“Under New York law, ‘a monetary judgment is excessive if it deviates materially from what would be reasonable compensation,’” the filing reads.