Roundups Politics

The Allegations of Sexual Assault and Misconduct Facing Donald Trump

Ally Boguhn

Though some of the allegations predate it, new accusations came to light after the Washington Post published footage of Trump speaking with then-Access Hollywood personality Billy Bush in 2005 about how he would grope and kiss women, seemingly without their consent.

Editor’s Note: This piece was last updated on October 28 at 12:34 p.m.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has faced a growing number of women coming forward and alleging he assaulted them or otherwise engaged in nonconsensual sexual actions, along with others who cited what they saw as harassing or inappropriate behavior from him.

Though some of the allegations predate it, these new accusations came to light after the Washington Post published footage in early October of Trump speaking with then-Access Hollywood personality Billy Bush in 2005 about how he would grope and kiss women, seemingly without their consent.

Trump apologized for his comments that same day in a recorded video statement, in which he claimed he had “said and done things I regret” and added that “the words released today on this more than a decade-old video are one of them.”

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“Anyone who knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am,” said Trump.

The following day, presidential debate moderator Anderson Cooper directly questioned Trump about whether he had actually done the things he said he had done in the 2005 tape.

“You described kissing women without consent, grabbing their genitals,” said Cooper. “That is sexual assault. You bragged that you have sexually assaulted women. Do you understand that?

Trump repeatedly sidestepped Anderson’s questions, claiming it was just “locker-room talk,” before eventually declaring that he had never actually done what he had described doing.

In the aftermath of that denial, several women came forward alleging otherwise. Here are the allegations made against Trump so far, which will be updated if more people come forward with their stories.

Ninni Laaksonen

Former Miss Finland Ninni Laaksonen alleged in an interview with Finnish outlet Ilta-Sanomat that Trump inappropriately touched her right before the two appeared in July 2006 on the Late Show with David Letterman.

“Before the show we (Trump and the other contestants) were photographed outside the building,” she told the outlet. “Trump stood right next to me and suddenly he squeezed my butt. He really grabbed my butt. I don’t think anybody saw it but I flinched and thought: “What is happening?”

Laaksonen told her story after Ilta-Sanomat reached out to Finnish women known to have interacted with Trump in the past. A video clip from the night in question does confirm that Trump appeared on the television program with Laaksonen.

Jessica Drake

Jessica Drake, an adult film performer and sex educator, alleges that Trump kissed her without her consent after meeting her in 2006 during a charity golf tournament.

Appearing during a Saturday, October 22 press conference alongside lawyer Gloria Allred, who has thus far represented two other women coming forward with accusations against Trump, Drake said that ten years ago, the now-Republican presidential nominee asked for her phone number and invited her to his hotel suite.

After arriving with two other women, Drake alleged Trump “grabbed each of us tightly, in a hug and kissed each one of us without asking permission.”

When Drake went back to her room, Trump and somebody representing him both called her and asked for another meetup, according to Drake. “What do you want? How much?” she said Trump asked on the phone at the time.

Upon declining, she says she later “received another call either from Donald or a male calling on his behalf offering me $10,000,” Drake said. She again declined.

A picture of Drake and Trump was released alongside her statement.

Trump’s campaign denied Drake’s account in a statement claiming that the “story is totally false and ridiculous.”

“The picture is one of thousands taken out of respect for people asking to have their picture taken with Mr. Trump,” the statement continued. “Mr. Trump does not know this person, does not remember this person and would have no interest in ever knowing her.”

Karena Virginia

Trump allegedly grabbed Karena Virginia, a yoga instructor and life coach, by the arm and touched her breast in 1998 after the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament in Queens, New York.

Virginia, who recounted her story during an October 20 press conference at New York City’s London Hotel, says that Trump approached her while she was waiting to be picked up after the event. “I knew who he was. But I’d never met him,” she said.

“He was with a few other men,” said Virginia. “I was quite surprised when I overheard him talking to the other men about me. He said, ‘Hey, look at this one. We haven’t seen her before. Look at those legs.’ As though I was an object rather than a person.”

Virginia then alleges Trump came up to her and “reached his right arm and grabbed my right arm. Then his hand touched the right inside of my breast.”

“I felt intimidated and I felt powerless,” said Virginia. “When my car pulled up and I got in, after I closed the door, my shock turned to shame.”

Jessica Leeds

Jessica Leeds is one of two women who came forward after the debate in an October 12 article published by the New York Times. According to Leeds, while seated next to Trump on a flight to New York in the 1980s, he grabbed her breasts and tried to force his hands up skirt.

“He was like an octopus,” she told the Times. “His hands were everywhere.”

“It was an assault,” Leeds said.

Trump denies the incident ever occurred. Speaking during a rally last Wednesday in Greensboro, North Carolina, the Republican pointed to Leeds’ appearance in an attempt to discredit her account.

“Believe me, she would not be my first choice, that I can tell you,” Trump said.

Rachel Crooks

The second woman featured in the New York Times story, Rachel Crooks, described encountering Trump while working as a receptionist at another business located in Trump Tower in Manhattan in 2005. Crooks, who was 22 at the time of the encounter, told the outlet that she introduced herself to Trump and shook his hand, but he would not let go, alleging he “kissed [her] directly on the mouth.”

“It was so inappropriate,” Crooks said. “I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that.”

Trump denied both Crooks’ and Leeds’ accusations, telling a reporter for the Times asking for a response that they were “a disgusting human being.” Trump’s campaign subsequently sent a letter to the outlet calling the women’s allegations “false and defamatory statements.” The letter demanded that the Times retract its story and issue an apology.

Natasha Stoynoff

Also on October 12, Natasha Stoynoff, a former writer with People, published a story alleging that Trump had pushed her up against a wall and kissed her without her consent when she met him for an interview at his Mar-a-Largo estate in Palm Beach, Florida, in 2005.

“We walked into that room alone, and Trump shut the door behind us,” wrote Stoynoff in the publication. “I turned around, and within seconds he was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat …. And I was grateful when Trump’s longtime butler burst into the room a minute later, as I tried to unpin myself.”

A spokesperson for the Trump campaign told People in response to the story that there is “no merit or veracity to” the allegations. Trump himself has also tried to discredit Stoynoff’s story by questioning why she would not have published her account when it happened, and pointing to her physical appearance.

“You take a look, look at her, look at her words, you tell me what you think,” Trump said at a Thursday rally in West Palm Beach, Florida. “I don’t think so, I don’t think so.”

Six people corroborated Stoynoff’s story, according to a follow-up article in People.

Mindy McGillivray

Mindy McGillivray alleged that Trump had groped her at Mar-a-Largo in an interview published October 12 by the Palm Beach Post. She was inspired, she said, to come forward after hearing Trump’s denial during the debate.

In 2003, McGillivray was helping a friend photograph a concert when, according to her account,“All of a sudden I felt a grab, a little nudge.”

“I think it’s Ken’s camera bag, that was my first instinct,” said McGillivray. “I turn around and there’s Donald. He sort of looked away quickly. I quickly turned back, facing Ray Charles, and I’m stunned.’’

McGillivray told the news outlet that she believed it wasn’t an accident. “This was a pretty good nudge. More of a grab,’’ she said. “It was pretty close to the center of my butt. I was startled. I jumped.’’

A spokesperson from Trump’s campaign denied the incident ever took place.

Facing backlash for coming forward, McGillivray later said that she would be leaving the country.

“We feel the backlash of the Trump supporters,” she said, speaking on behalf of her family. “It scares us. It intimidates us. We are in fear of our lives.”

Summer Zervos

Summer Zervos, a former contestant on NBC’s The Apprentice, has alleged that Trump “aggressively” made unwanted sexual advances toward her after she had asked to meet him after her time on his reality television show. She says she decided to come forward “after hearing the released audio tapes” and Trump’s debate answers.

“When I arrived [at his office], he kissed me on the lips. I was surprised, but felt that perhaps it was just his form of greeting,” Zervos said at a press conference on October 14 of her meeting with Trump. During the meeting, Zervos said Trump told her he would like to work with her and again kissed her again before she left.

“This made me feel nervous and embarrassed,” Zervos said. “This is not what I wanted or expected.”

As Rewire previously reported, Zervos was later asked to meet with Trump at a hotel, where she says he tried to kiss her “aggressively,” touched her breasts, and repeatedly made sexual advances toward her.

“He put me in an embrace and I tried to push him away …. I said, ‘Come on, man, get real,’” Zervos said. Trump then repeated her words back to her and “began thrusting his genitals” before trying to kiss her again, according to Zervos.

Trump responded to Zervos’ allegations in a statement posted to his campaign’s website claiming he only “vaguely remember[ed] Ms. Zervos as one of the many contestants on The Apprentice over the years.”

“To be clear, I never met her at a hotel or greeted her inappropriately a decade ago,” the statement continued. “Beyond that, the media is now creating a theater of absurdity that threatens to tear our democratic process apart and poison the minds of the American public. ”

Kristin Anderson

“It wasn’t a sexual come-on. I don’t know why he did it. It was like just to prove that he could do it, and nothing would happen.” That’s what Kristin Anderson told the Washington Post on October 14 about an encounter she alleges she had with Trump in a New York night club in the early ’90s. She says she was sitting on a velvet couch when the man next to her forced his hand up her skirt and touched her genitals.

“There was zero conversation. We didn’t even really look at each other. It was very random, very nonchalant on his part,” said Anderson.

According to the Post, Anderson does not support either major party presidential nominee and did not come to the outlet with her story. She was instead contacted by a reporter who heard her story secondhand, and she spent several days trying to decide whether to tell it publicly.

Trump’s campaign spokesperson responded to Anderson’s allegation saying that, “Mr. Trump strongly denies this phony allegation by someone looking to get some free publicity. It is totally ridiculous.”

Cathy Heller

Cathy Heller accused Trump of having “grabbed [her] and went for the lips” upon meeting her in 1997 at his Mar-a-Largo estate. According to her Saturday account in the Guardian, she tried to twist away, but he allegedly told her, “Oh, come on,” and held her in place and did it anyway.

“He kept me there for a little too long,” added Heller. “And then he just walked away.”

“I was angry and shaken,” Heller went on. “[Trump] was pissed. He couldn’t believe a woman would pass up the opportunity.” She told the news outlet that she thought Trump had felt “entitled” to kiss her.

The Guardian‘s report notes that Heller is a Clinton supporter, but that it heard the same account of the interaction from two other people—one of whom was there the day Heller says the incident occurred:

“I remember she was really freaked out,” said the relative. The relative didn’t see Heller’s entire interaction with Trump, but saw him get “in her face” and saw Heller pull away. “He was very forceful … She really was definitely affected by this man who was very aggressive toward her.”

Heller and the relative both recalled that no one at the table quite knew how to react. “I was shook up,” said Heller. As they all processed the moment, Trump had already left.

Jason Miller, senior communications advisor to the Trump campaign, responded to Heller’s allegation in a statement declaring that “the media has gone too far in making this false accusation.”

“There is no way that something like this would have happened in a public place on Mother’s Day at Mr. Trump’s resort,” claimed Miller. “It would have been the talk of Palm Beach for the past two decades.” 

Jill Harth

Before Trump’s 2005 comments were unearthed, Jill Harth, who worked with Trump in the ’90s, told the story behind her 1997 lawsuit against the now-presidential candidate in a July interview with the Guardian.

“He pushed me up against the wall, and had his hands all over me and tried to get up my dress again,” Harth told the outlet. “And I had to physically say: ‘What are you doing? Stop it.’”

Her suit alleged that in 1993, Trump had subjected her to “unwanted sexual advances, which included touching of plaintiff’s private [parts] in an act constituting attempted ‘rape.’” The case was dropped a few weeks after it was filed, just after Harth’s then-partner settled another suit against Trump.

Though Trump said in May that the suit was “meritless” and his office forwarded emails from Harth where she claimed to support his presidency, Harth has continued to stand by her story.

Ivana Trump

Though she later recanted it, Trump’s former wife Ivana once accused Trump of “rape.” The New York Times reported in May that Harry Hurt III’s 1993 book Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump included a description of the event. According to the report:

[The book] also included a statement from Ivana that Mr. Trump’s lawyers insisted be placed in the front of the book. In the statement, she described an occasion of “marital relations” during which “I felt violated, as the love and tenderness, which he normally exhibited toward me, was absent.”

“During a deposition given by me in connection with my matrimonial case, I stated that my husband had raped me,” the statement said. “I referred to this as a ‘rape,’ but I do not want my words to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense.”

Trump denies that the sexual assault took place, and when the story became news again this election cycle, Ivana said it was “totally without merit.”

Temple Taggart

That same May New York Times story also included an allegation from former Miss Utah Temple Taggart that Trump had forcibly kissed her and possibly other contestants on the mouth in 1997.

“He kissed me directly on the lips. I thought,Oh my God, gross,’” said Taggart. “He was married to Marla Maples at the time. I think there were a few other girls that he kissed on the mouth. I was like ‘Wow, that’s inappropriate.’”

According to the Times, Trump said the incident never occurred. However, Taggart remembers something similar happening on at the celebration gala after the pageant show, during which he again kissed her and advised her to lie about her age in order to do modeling:

“‘We’re going to have to tell them you’re 17,’ ” Ms. Taggart recalled him telling her, “because in his mind, 21 is too old. I was like, ‘No, we’re not going to do that.’ ”

Trump again denied Taggert’s allegations in a later statement to NBC News where he claimed he didn’t even know who she was. However, as the outlet pointed out, Trump had admitted to knowing her in another interview with the Daily Mail.

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