A civil trial differs in key respects from a criminal case.

The accusation at the heart of the trial that just ended in Manhattan federal court sounds like a classic criminal case — an alleged sexual assault in the dressing room of a luxury department store.

But the jury of nine New Yorkers were not asked to decide if former president Donald J. Trump was guilty of raping the writer E. Jean Carroll as she testified he did in the mid 1990s. No criminal charges were ever brought.

Instead, Ms. Carroll sued Mr. Trump for battery and defamation.

That means the jury was asked to determine Mr. Trump’s “liability” — whether Mr. Trump is legally responsible for harming Ms. Carroll in ways that meet New York State’s definition of battery.

The jurors began their deliberations just before noon on Tuesday. Their verdicts must be unanimous.

To have Mr. Trump found liable for battery, Ms. Carroll must clear a lower bar than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard of a criminal trial. Instead, jurors must find that the “preponderance of the evidence” supports Ms. Carroll’s claim to have been raped, sexually abused or forcibly touched by Mr. Trump, meaning the jury believes the accusation is more likely true than untrue. The jury must also decide how much to award Ms. Carroll in damages if they side with her.

The jury also examined Ms. Carroll’s defamation claim, stemming from a 2022 post on Truth Social in which Mr. Trump called Ms. Carroll’s case “a complete con job” and “a Hoax and a lie.” The jurors have to decide if Mr. Trump knew what he was saying was false but said it anyway to meet a standard known as “actual malice.”

Should the jurors find Mr. Trump liable for defamation, they will also assess what, if any, additional damages to award to Ms. Carroll.

Ms. Carroll has not requested a specific amount of damages she is seeking for her battery claim. Last week, an expert witness called by Ms. Carroll testified it would cost as much as $2.7 million to run a campaign that would repair her reputation.

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