In the wake of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s latest scandal, involving a leaked tape from 2005 in which he uses coarse language in boasting about groping women, and his flat denial that he’d ever acted on his “grab them by the pussy” remark under questioning from Anderson Cooper during the presidential debate, four women came forward late Wednesday claiming that Trump had forced himself on them in some way.
The allegations stretched all the way back to the early 1980s and some were as recent as 2005. Two of the women told their stories to The New York Times. Jessica Leeds, a business woman told her story in a video interview with the Times. Leeds, 38 at the time, said she met Trump on commercial flight in the early 1980s when she was upgraded to first-class and seated next to Trump. Her encounter began innocently enough, with Trump introducing himself and two exchanging small talk. But after Trump learned Leeds was divorced and the flight attendants cleared away the dinner trays, Trump began putting his hands on her. “He was like an octopus. It was like he had six arms.” Leeds recalled. “His hands were everywhere.” She said had Trump “stuck with the upper part of the body … I might not have gotten that upset. But when he started putting his hand up my skirt, that was it.” With that, Leeds said she returned to her seat in coach. Leeds said she never went to the authorities about the incident and only shared the experience with a close circle of friends in family, but after watching Trump deny having engaged in that sort of behavior when questioned by Cooper, she felt like he’d lied right to her face.
The Times spoke with another woman who worked as an administrative assistant at another company in Trump Tower, who claimed Trump kissed her in the lobby of the building in 2005 without her consent. And The Palm Beach Post published a story about a woman who said she was groped by Trump in 2005 when she was working as a camera assistant in Florida. Finally, Natasha Stoynoff, a celebrity writer for PEOPLE authored a first-person account detailing how Trump allegedly fondled her while she visited his residence in late 2005 to do a story on celebrity couples celebrating their first anniversaries. She said Trump groped her while his wife Melania, pregnant at the time, was just upstairs.
The Trump campaign has issued a sharp denial slamming The New York Times story as libel and demanding that the paper “immediately cease any further publication of this article, remove it from your website and issue a full and immediate retraction and apology.” The Trump campaign also denied the allegations made by other women as well. Lawyers for Trump are threatening to sue. Watch Leeds’s complete interview with the Times below.
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Read the full story at BuzzFeed.