Author accuses Donald Trump of sexually assaulting her in department store 23 years ago
A prominent advice columnist has accused Donald Trump of raping her in a dressing room more than 20 years ago.
In an article published on Friday in New York magazine's website, E. Jean Carroll alleges the US president sexually assaulted her when she met him in Bergdorf Goodman in late 1995 or early 1996.
Trump has denied the claims, saying he has never met the American journalist - well-known for writing the Ask E. Jean column in Elle magazine - and insists she has created the story to sell her new book.
In an excerpt from her upcoming book, titled, What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal, the 75-year-old writer says she ran into Trump in "the fall of 1995 or the spring of 1996" and immediately recognised him as "that real-estate tycoon".
When Trump - who was married to Marla Maples at the time - enlisted her to help him buy a present for "a girl," she agreed, and they joked around, throwing underwear back and forth in the store. When he suggested she try on an item of lingerie, they headed to the dressing room, where she claims, Trump raped her.
"The moment the dressing-room door is closed, he lunges at me, pushes me against the wall, hitting my head quite badly, and puts his mouth against my lips," Carroll wrote. "I am so shocked I shove him back and start laughing again. He seizes both my arms and pushes me up against the wall a second time, and, as I become aware of how large he is, he holds me against the wall with his shoulder and jams his hand under my coat dress and pulls down my tights."
She continued: "The next moment, still wearing correct business attire, shirt, tie, suit jacket, overcoat, he opens the overcoat, unzips his pants, and, forcing his fingers around my private area, thrusts his penis halfway — or completely, I'm not certain — inside me. It turns into a colossal struggle."
The columnist - who said she hadn't gone public with the story until now due to fear of being threatened or attacked - told NBC Nightly News on Friday that she eventually fought off Trump and then fled.
After the alleged sexual assault, Carroll told two friends, one of whom advised her to report the billionaire to the police. However, the other advised the writer against doing so, telling her: "Forget it! He has 200 lawyers. He'll bury you."
In her New York Magazine website article, Carroll alleges five other attacks by "awful men," one of whom is former CEO of CBS, Les Moonves, who resigned in 2018 after allegations of sexual misconduct. Moonves' representative told New York magazine he "emphatically denies" the incident.
In a statement, Donald Trump has also denied all claims of wrongdoing, and encouraged anyone with information that the Democratic Party is working with Carroll or New York Magazine to notify the White House.
"I've never met this person in my life," the US president said in a statement. "She is trying to sell a new book - that should indicate her motivation. It should be sold in the fiction section."