A high-profile American journalist has accused Donald Trump of raping her in a New York department store over two decades ago.
E. Jean Carroll said she was attacked by Trump as they were both shopping at the Bergdorf Goodman department store in midtown Manhattan in either late 1995 or early 1996.
The magazine columnist and former television personality went public with the allegation in New York magazine on Friday, where she vividly recounted details of the alleged assault.
In a statement, Donald Trump angrily denied Carroll's account and said that he had "never met her in his life."
He said she was making up "lies" in order to sell her forthcoming book and stated she should "pay dearly for such false accusations."
The 75-year-old says the chance encounter was initially friendly, with both parties recognising each due to their well-known public personnas.
Trump - who is understood to have been married to Marla Maples at the time of the alleged assault - said he was in the store buying a gift for a "girl".
During their conversation, Carroll agreed to advise him on what to buy and the pair eventually made their way to the lingerie section of the store.
Trump then forced her into the dressing room where he violently pulled down her tights, unzipped his pants and sexually assaulted her, she claims.
"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. I am so shocked I shove him back and start laughing again," writes Carroll.
She continues: "I am astonished by what I’m about to write: I keep laughing. 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."
The detailed allegations are made in a upcoming book by Carroll, which has been republished in an excerpt by New York magazine.
She is now the 16th woman to accuse Donald Trump of unwanted sexual advances.
New York magazine claims to have verified her account with two friends who were told about the incident shortly after it occurred.
One friend warned her not to report the incident to police because his team of lawyers would "bury her".
Despite Trump's high-profile election, Carroll has remained silent over the incident until now due to concerns over her safety.
Carroll said: “Receiving death threats, being driven from my home, being dismissed, being dragged through the mud and joining the 15 women who’ve come forward with credible stories about how the man grabbed, badgered, belittled, mauled, molested, and assaulted them, only to see the man turn it around, deny, threaten, and attack them, never sounded like much fun.”
A senior White House official said in a statement: “This is a completely false and unrealistic story surfacing 25 years after allegedly taking place and was created simply to make the President look bad.”
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