Donald Trump faces the prospect of a new round of sexual assault allegations after the Washington Post published an interview with a woman who claims she was groped by the Republican presidential nominee at a New York nightspot in the early 1990s.
Kristin Anderson, then a 20-something aspiring model who was at the club with friends, said the stranger sitting next to her on a red velvet sofa had reached up her skirt and touched her genitals through her underwear.
“He did touch my vagina through my underwear, absolutely,” Ms Anderson told the Post.
Only after she had shoved the man off and moved away did she turn to look at him closely. It was Donald Trump, she said. “He was so distinctive looking — with the hair and the eyebrows. I mean, nobody else has those eyebrows.”
The incident was over in 30 seconds or less, Ms Anderson, now 46, told the newspaper. “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,” she said, adding: “There was zero conversation. We didn’t even really look at each other. It was very random, very nonchalant on his part.”
Ms Anderson recounted the story to friends over the years, but was persuaded to come forward publicly in recent days following similar accusations from several other women and the release of a 2005 tape in which Mr Trump could be heard bragging about sexual assault.
The Trump campaign insisted her story was fiction. “Mr Trump strongly denies this phony allegation by someone looking to get some free publicity. It is totally ridiculous,” Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks told the Post in a statement.
She said she believed the Manhattan club at which the incident took place was China Club, which Mr Trump frequented in the early 1990s, at a time when he had divorced his first wife Ivanka Trump and not yet married his second, Marla Maples.
After the incident, Ms Anderson concluded that Mr Trump was “gross” but, she said, “It didn’t cross my mind then that this person was a predator.”
Shortly after the interview with Ms Anderson was published, former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos appeared at a press conference in Los Angeles, where she accused Mr Trump of having groped her at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2007, after they had met ostensibly to discuss job opportunities in the property developer's organisation.
Lawyer Gloria Allred, who is representing Ms Zervos, said that, “instead of a job, Ms Zervos claims she got the Donald all over her, kissing her, touching her breasts, leading her into his bedroom.”
In a statement later on Friday, Mr Trump said of Ms Zervos: “I vaguely remember 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. That is not who I am as a person, and it is not how I’ve conducted my life. In fact, Ms Zervos continued to contact me for help, emailing my office on 14 April of this year asking that I visit her restaurant in California.”
At the second presidential debate on Sunday, Mr Trump denied having ever engaged in the behaviour that he described on the 2005 tape, such as “grabbing” women “by the p****.”
The New York Times subsequently interviewed two women who both claimed to have had unpleasant encounters with the property developer. Jessica Leeds, 74, said Mr Trump had groped her when they were seated next to each other on a flight in the 1980s.
Rachel Crooks, who worked for a firm based in Trump Tower in 2005, found herself in a lift with Mr Trump and tried to introduce herself by shaking his hand. The Apprentice star kissed Ms Crooks, then 22, “directly on the mouth,” she told the newspaper.
In a lengthy account published late on Wednesday night, People magazine writer Natasha Stoynoff recalled travelling to Mr Trump’s Florida property Mar-a-Lago to interview him with his wife Melania, also in 2005. Mr Trump, she claimed, had cornered her in private and “within seconds, he was pushing me against the wall, and forcing his tongue down my throat.”
Mr Trump has denied all the allegations, claiming they are part of a conspiracy against his candidacy orchestrated by the media and the Clinton campaign. Ms Anderson, who now lives in California, said she does not support Mr Trump or his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, and is registered as having no party preference.
At a campaign rally on Friday, Mr Trump angrily denounced the allegations made about him in recent days, calling the women “sick” and saying the accusations were fabricated.
“I don't know who these people are. I look on television, I think it's a disgusting thing and it's being pushed, they have no witnesses, there's nobody around,” Mr Trump said at the rally in Greensboro, North Carolina.
“Some are doing it for probably a little fame, they get some free fame. It's a total set-up,” he said.Reuse content