6 bol­ster writer’s ac­count of Trump’s sex as­sault in 2005

Baltimore Sun - - ELECTION 2016 - By Michael Biesecker

WASH­ING­TON — Peo­ple mag­a­zine re­ported Tues­day that a half-dozen peo­ple have come for­ward to cor­rob­o­rate its writer’s ac­count of be­ing sex­u­ally as­saulted by Don­ald Trump and its af­ter­math.

Natasha Stoynoff, a for­mer staff writer at the celebrity mag­a­zine, wrote last week that Trump grabbed her, pinned her against a wall and forcibly kissed her in a room at his Mar-a-Lago man­sion in Florida in 2005. She was on as­sign­ment to write a pro­file of the bil­lion­aire busi­ness­man and his then-preg­nant wife, who Stoynoff said was up­stairs when it hap­pened.

The Re­pub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee has de­nied the ac­cu­sa­tion, say­ing Stoynoff fab­ri­cated the in­ci­dent. He also sug­gested Stoynoff, 51, is not phys­i­cally at­trac­tive enough to merit his at­ten­tion.

“She lies! Look at her, I don’t think so,” Trump, 70, said last week at a cam­paign rally.

Stoynoff is one of about a dozen women who have re­cently ac­cused Trump of such mis­con­duct as grop­ing, un­ex­pected kisses on the mouth and un­wanted sex­ual ad­vances.

Though Stoynoff says she and Trump were alone when he ac­costed her, the mag­a­zine’s lat­est story quotes five friends and for­mer co-work­ers who say the writer told them about the in­ci­dent shortly af­ter it hap­pened.

In Stoynoff’s first-per­son ac­count, she also wrote of a chance meet­ing and brief con­ver­sa­tion with Me­la­nia Trump along New York’s Fifth Av­enue weeks later. She said Trump’s third wife was by then car­ry­ing the cou­ple’s in­fant son, Bar­ron, in her arms while out­side Trump Tower. She said Me­la­nia called her by her first name and gave her a hug.

But Me­la­nia Trump said in an in­ter­view with CNN broad­cast Mon­day that the con­ver­sa­tion never hap­pened.

“I was never friends with her. I would not rec­og­nize her,” the can­di­date’s wife said of Stoynoff.

How­ever, a sixth per­son quoted in Peo­ple’s story on Tues­day, Liza Herz, said she was with Stoynoff and re­mem­bers the mo­ment well.

“They chat­ted in a friendly way,” Herz is quoted as say­ing. “And what struck me most was that Me­la­nia was car­ry­ing a child and wear­ing heels.”

Stoynoff ’ s l ong­time friend Ma­rina Gra­sic told Peo­ple she got a call from the re­porter the day af­ter the al­leged at­tack. Gra­sic said Stoynoff de­tailed ev­ery­thing, from Trump push­ing her against a wall to the mogul later show­ing up at her mas­sage ap­point­ment.

The for­mer Peo­ple co­work­ers quoted to bol­ster Stoynoff’s ac­count were East Coast Ed­i­tor Liz McNeil, Deputy East Coast News Ed­i­tor Mary Green and for­mer staff writer Liza Hamm. All said Stoynoff con­fided in them years ago about the in­ci­dent.

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