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Carroll says Trump is ‘nothing,’ ‘we don’t need to be afraid of him’

Longtime advice columnist E. Jean Carroll on Monday reflected on her changed perception of former President Trump, revealing she now believes the former president is “nothing” whom people “don’t need to be afraid of.”

Carroll, speaking with MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow on Monday, said she was “terrified” to face the former president during the defamation trial.

“Three days…four days before trial, I had an actual breakdown,” Carroll said. “I lost my ability to speak, I lost my words, I couldn’t talk and I couldn’t go on. It was…that’s how frightened I was.”

Once Carroll sat in the witness chair during the trial, her attitude changed, she said.

“But oddly, we went into court, [lawyer] Robbie [Kaplan] took the Lecter, I sat in the witness chair like this. And she said, ‘Miss. Carroll, good morning. Would you please state your name for the court?'” Carroll recounted. “And amazingly, I looked out, and he was nothing. He was nothing. He was a phantom…it was the people around him who were giving him power, he himself was nothing.”

“It was an astonishing discovery for me,” she added. “He’s nothing, we don’t need to be afraid of him. He can be knocked down.”

A jury last week ordered Trump to pay a whopping $83.3 million for defaming Carroll in 2019 when he denied the writer’s allegation that he sexually assaulted her in the mid-1990s. Trump has vowed to appeal the verdict.

The order came after a separate jury found Trump liable for sexually abusing Carroll and defaming her in separate comments last year. He was ordered to pay $5 million.

In an earlier interview on Monday with “CBS Mornings,” Carroll compared the former president to the protagonist of the cautionary tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” in that he only has power because of his followers.

“Well, Hans Christian Andersen’s great fairy tale, ‘The Emperor Has No Clothes?’ That is written about Donald Trump. It’s just we’re the ones who clothe him in all this power. He has none himself; it’s his followers. It’s his hangers-on,” Carroll said.

Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta “Robbie” Kaplan, said the defamation trial “proved” “it is time to stand up to the world’s or the United States’s current biggest bully.”

“And the way to do that is by using the facts and the law and our legal system, to say that we’re not afraid,” Kaplan said Monday. “And we saw a jury of nine New Yorkers stand up to him just as much as we did and say, ‘Not only did you do this, but you need to pay her $83 million dollars.”

Carroll repeatedly said on Monday she will “do good” with the money and has “some good ideas” she and her team are working on.

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