Popular writer and advice columnist E. Jean Carroll alleges in a bombshell New York magazine cover story out Friday that Donald Trump sexually assaulted her inside a dressing room of a Manhattan department store two decades ago.
“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,” Carroll writes in the first-person essay. “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.”
Trump vehemently denied any misconduct, saying in a statement that he has “never met this person in my life.”
“She is trying to sell a new book—that should indicate her motivation. It should be sold in the fiction section,” he said.
“Shame on those who make up false stories of assault to try to get any publicity for themselves, or sell a book, or carry out a political agenda—like Julie Swetnick who falsely accused Justice Brett Kavanaugh. It's just as bad for people to believe it, particularly when there is zero evidence.”
Carroll’s claim is one of six alleged sexual-assault incidents the former “Ask E. Jean” Elle columnist details in the story, which is an excerpt from her newest book, What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal. In the book, Carroll, 75, also alleges she was sexually assaulted by disgraced former CBS Chief Executive Les Moonves.
According to Carroll, “in fall of 1995 or the spring of 1996,” she met Donald Trump inside Bergdorf Goodman, an upscale Manhattan department store. She says the encounter was initially friendly. The then-real-estate mogul recognized her as “that advice lady” and told her he was buying a gift for “a girl” and needed help, Carroll says.
While they were in the lingerie section, Carroll says Trump suggested a lace bodysuit, and encouraged her to try it on.
“You try it on,” Carroll says she replied. “It’s your color.”
“Try it on, come on,” he allegedly responded before “throwing” the undergarment at her.
The friendly encounter turned violent once the pair reached the dressing rooms, Carroll alleges. That’s where she says he shoved her against a wall, pulled down her tights, and “forcing his fingers around my private area, thrusts his penis halfway—or completely, I’m not certain—inside me,” she writes.
“It turns into a colossal struggle. I am wearing a pair of sturdy black patent-leather four-inch Barneys high heels, which puts my height around six-one, and I try to stomp his foot,” Carroll writes. “I try to push him off with my one free hand—for some reason, I keep holding my purse with the other—and I finally get a knee up high enough to push him out and off and I turn, open the door, and run out of the dressing room.”
After the “three-minute incident,” Carroll says she immediately told two journalist friends. One friend encouraged her to file a police report, and the other told her to just forget it, she says.
“Tell no one. Forget it! He has 200 lawyers. He’ll bury you,” the friend allegedly said.
This isn’t the first time Trump has been accused of sexual assault.
In sworn testimony during their 1990s divorce, the president’s ex-wife, Ivana, claimed Trump had raped her during their 15-year marriage. Ivana later took back that statement, claiming she had not meant rape “in a literal or criminal sense.”
During the 2016 presidential election, at least 13 women came forward to accuse the former New York real-estate tycoon of sexual misconduct. Trump has repeatedly denied all allegations of wrongdoing.
Carroll adds that it took her over 20 years to come forward with the allegation, after following her second friend’s advice, because she “dreaded the public humiliation.” Under New York law, even if the alleged incident was reported to police now, it’s too late to prosecute. While the statute of limitations on first-degree rape was eliminated in 2006, that change only applies to incidents that occurred in 2001 or later.
The 75-year-old writer revealed the Donna Karan coat-dress she wore that day “still hangs on the back of my closet door.” She said she took it out for the first time since the attack for the New York magazine cover.
“Receiving death threats, being driven from my home, being dismissed, being dragged through the mud,” she writes in the Friday piece, “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.”
Ahead of the publication of her book, Carroll has been leading a “Hideous-Men of New York Walking Tour,” during which the 75-year-old shows guests the “hallowed spots where women have stood up, spoken out, and begun to put an end to sexual harassment.” The next tour, which lasts about 90 minutes, begins at Bergdorf Goodman this Sunday.