2 additional women accuse Trump of sexual assault
WARNING: This story contains graphic language.
Two additional women on Friday stepped forward to accuse Donald Trump of sexually assaulting them, the latest revelations to rock the GOP nominee’s campaign.
One woman alleged that Trump slid his fingers under her skirt in the early 1990s. Another, a former “Apprentice” contestant, said Trump grabbed her breast and kissed her aggressively in 2007.
Kristin Anderson and Summer Zervos told their accounts separately.
Anderson, now a 46-year-old photographer living in California, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that she was sitting with friends at a Manhattan nightclub in the early 1990s when suddenly a man put his hand up her skirt. Moments afterward, she said she recognized the man to be Trump. The two had not spoken or met before the incident occurred, Anderson said.
She first made the allegations to The Washington Post, which reported her claim that Trump touched her vagina.
“He just stuck his hand up my skirt. We just went off the rest of our night,” Anderson said. “I pushed him off and I moved away and I sort of didn’t ponder it for that long … He’s (denying it) and there are a ton of women saying yes, and more will come out.”
When asked if she thought it was assault by Trump at the time, she said no.
“No, I didn’t think of it that way, no. But assault in my mind meant something else. Hitting is assault. I was very unaware of mental abuse, manipulation, bullying, that is just straight-up bullying.”
“Here’s a man who thinks he can do whatever he wants. And deny it. And get away with it,” she added.
Zervos claims Trump kissed her twice on the lips during a lunch meeting in his New York City office. On a separate occasion in Beverly Hills, she alleges he kissed her aggressively and touched her breast.
She later pursued a job within the Trump Organization and says Trump asked her to stop calling him.
The former “Apprentice” contestant shared her story in a press conference that was organized by her lawyer Gloria Allred, a women’s rights attorney and activist who has represented other women in high-profile sexual assault cases.
CNN has not yet independently verified Anderson or Zervos’ accounts. Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks said in a statement Anderson’s account is a “total fabrication.”
“It is illogical and nonsensical to think Donald Trump was alone in a nightclub in Manhattan and that the alleged incident and recognition of Mr. Trump went unnoticed by both the woman involved and anyone else in this ‘crowded’ venue.”
Hicks also questioned the timing of Anderson’s allegations.
“Further, why is this just coming out now? She described the allegation as being ‘inconsequential at the time,’ but why then wasn’t it consequential when Mr. Trump announced for President, or when he won the primary, or when he headlined the convention — why is it just now, three weeks before election day, consequential? The answer is that this is clearly a political attack designed to tear down Mr. Trump.”
Trump disputed Anderson’s claim at a rally on Friday, calling her account “nonsense” and “false,” arguing that he rarely sits alone, even though Anderson never claimed Trump was sitting alone at the time of the incident.
“I was sitting alone by myself and then I went wah to somebody,” Trump said, motioning to his side as he attempted to re-enact Anderson’s account of his behavior.
Trump later responded to Zervos in a statement Friday, saying he “vaguely” remembered her.
“When Gloria Allred is given the same weighting on national television as the president of the United States, and unfounded accusations are treated as fact, with reporters throwing due diligence and fact-finding to the side in a rush to file their stories first, it’s evident that we truly are living in a broken system,” Trump said.
The denial of Anderson’s claim is similar to ones the Trump campaign has offered this week as other women have come forward this week to accuse Trump of kissing or groping them without their consent. CNN has not independently verified any of these allegations.
The allegations, which have rocked Trump’s presidential campaign, emerged days after audio of a lewd conversation in which Trump bragged in 2005 about kissing and groping women surfaced last Friday. Trump apologized for the words, but insisted in the second presidential debate Sunday that he never sexually assaulted women in the way he boasted about on tape in 2005.
The women who have leveled allegations of sexual misconduct against Trump this week have all said the publication of the 2005 tape and Trump’s denial in Sunday’s debate prompted them to come forward.
“A girlfriend of mine told me about (the video),” Anderson told CNN, adding, “I watched the video and I thought, ‘That’s horrifying.'”
Anderson’s allegation is similar to the story of Jessica Leeds, who told Cooper — as well as The New York Times in a story published Wednesday — that Trump grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt during a flight in the early 1980s.
Zervos said Trump “grabbed my shoulder and began kissing me again very aggressively and placed his hand on my breast” during an encounter in Beverly Hills, when she met with him in 2007.
She continued, “I pulled back and walked to another part of the room. He then walked up, grabbed my hand, and then walked me into the bedroom. I walked out. He then turned me around and said, ‘Let’s lay down and watch some telly telly.’ He put me in an embrace and I tried to push him away. I pushed his chest to put space between us. I said, ‘Come on man get real’ … He repeated my words back to me, ‘Get real,’ as he began thrusting his genitals.”
She was a former contestant of season 5 of “The Apprentice” and continued to see Trump as a “possible mentor” after she was “fired” from the show.
Trump denied these claims in his statement and said Zervos had contacted him as recently as April.
“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 April 14th of this year asking that I visit her restaurant in California,” Trump said.
Later Friday, the Trump campaign released what it said was the April 14 email, in which Zervos purportedly writes that she is “the only former Apprentice who operates a business where Mr. Trump’s supporters can walk in, express their admiration for him and inquire about my experience … We hire a diverse crew and embrace anyone who is honest while working hard. Mr. Trump is cut from the same cloth.”
The Trump campaign also released a statement from a man identifying himself as first cousin of Zervos. The man, John Barry of Mission Viejo, California, was quoted by the campaign as saying, “Ever since she (Zervos) was on “The Apprentice” she has had nothing but glowing things to say about Mr. Trump” and “converted her friends and our family to become Trump supporters.”
That was followed by a statement from Allred that described John Barry as “a huge Trump supporter” and a former employee at Zervos’ restaurant who has “expressed hostility and ill will toward Summer.”
Allred said also that three people corroborated that Zervos had told them in the past “what she alleges Mr. Trump did to her.”
The news conference was the first time Zervos has spoken to the press about her allegations against Trump. Allred said that she’s been contacted by more women accusing Trump of sexual advances.
“Many more women have contacted me. Will they be coming forward? I can’t answer this question at this time,” Allred said.
A People Magazine reporter wrote a story alleging Trump began kissing her without her consent in 2005 when the two were alone for an interview at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. She was reporting an article on his one-year wedding anniversary to his wife, Melania.
Trump has forcefully denied all of these allegations and has argued that they are part of a conspiratorial effort to sink his campaign.