A U.S. federal court jury awarded $83.3 million in damages Friday to a columnist over defamatory comments made by former President Donald Trump when he was in office in 2019 in reference to the claim that he had sexually assaulted her in the 1990s.

The 77-year-old front-runner in the Republican presidential nomination race described the jury's decision as "absolutely ridiculous" and said he will appeal.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Jan. 20, 2024, in the Republican nomination race for the November presidential election. (Getty/Kyodo)

The columnist, Jean Carroll, claimed in a 2019 memoire and on various occasions that Trump raped her in a dressing room at a department store in New York in the mid-1990s.

Trump denied the allegation, saying Carroll was lying to sell her book.

Carroll's side demanded Trump pay at least $24 million in compensatory damages, saying he took advantage of his position as U.S. president to attack her character.

The jury on Friday awarded $18.3 million in compensation and $65 million in punitive damages.

Trump was ordered to pay $5 million in May last year in another civil suit that convicted him of sexually assaulting Carroll.

The former president is facing 91 criminal charges in four separate cases, including over the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.

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