2 women tell pa­per Trump touched them

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE -

Two women tell The New York Times that Don­ald Trump touched them in­ap­pro­pri­ately in sep­a­rate en­coun­ters.

WASH­ING­TON >> Two women tell The New York Times that Don­ald Trump touched them in­ap­pro­pri­ately — grop­ing a woman in one in­stance and kiss­ing a woman in an­other — dur­ing sep­a­rate en­coun­ters that took place as long as three decades ago, the news­pa­per re­ported Wednes­day.

Trump told the Times there was no truth to ei­ther of the claims. In a state­ment, Trump’s cam­paign spokesman, Ja­son Miller, said “the en­tire ar­ti­cle is fic­tion” and ac­cused the news­pa­per of launch­ing “a com­pletely false, co­or­di­nated char­ac­ter as­sas­si­na­tion.”

The women’s sto­ries come less than a week after the pub­li­ca­tion of a 2005 record­ing in which the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee boasted of grop­ing women. Trump apol­o­gized for his com­ments, but also dis­missed them as “locker room talk” and a dis­trac­tion from the cam­paign.

Both women told the Times they were com­ing for­ward with their sto­ries be­cause of the record­ing and Trump’s re­sponse to ques­tions about it at Sun­day’s pres­i­den­tial de­bate. The New York busi­ness­man said then he had never done the things he bragged about on the record­ing.

Jes­sica Leeds, 74, of New York, said she sat be­side Trump in the first-class cabin of a flight to New York more than three decades ago. After less than an hour in the air, he lifted the arm­rest sep­a­rat­ing them and be­gan to touch her, she said, and grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt.

“It was an as­sault,” Leeds told the news­pa­per. She said she fled to the back of the plane and sat in the coach sec­tion.

A sec­ond woman, Rachel Crooks of Ohio, told the news­pa­per she met Trump as a 22-year-old in 2005 — the same year he was recorded brag­ging in vul­gar terms about grab­bing women’s gen­i­tals.

Crooks said she was a re­cep­tion­ist for a real es­tate in­vest­ment and de­vel­op­ment com­pany lo­cated at Trump Tower and met Trump out­side an el­e­va­tor in the build­ing one morn­ing. She in­tro­duced her­self to the celebrity busi­ness­man, she said.

They shook hands but Trump would not let go, Crooks said, and he be­gan kiss­ing her cheeks and then kissed her on the mouth. “It was so in­ap­pro­pri­ate,” she told the news­pa­per. “I was so up­set that he thought I was so in­signif­i­cant that he could do that.”

Crooks said she re­counted the in­ci­dent that day to her sis­ter by phone and to her boyfriend that night, both of whom spoke to the Times. In the case of Leeds, the Times re­ported it had in­ter­viewed four peo­ple who said she had told them more re­cently of her en­counter with Trump.

Leeds said she did not com­plain to the air­line at the time be­cause such un­wanted ad­vances were com­mon for busi­ness­women in the 1970s and early 1980s, the news­pa­per re­ported. She said she en­coun­tered Trump at a char­ity event a few years later and said he had seemed to re­mem­ber her and in­sulted her with a crude re­mark.

Both women told the pa­per they sup­port Hil­lary Clin­ton’s cam­paign for pres­i­dent. In a state­ment, Miller re­jected the women’s ac­counts as “fic­tion.”

EVAN VUCCI — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump speaks dur­ing a cam­paign rally, Wednes­day in Lake­land, Fla. Trump told the Times there was no truth to ei­ther of the claims he touched 2 women in­ap­pro­pri­ately.

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