On Oct. 12, former People writer Natasha Stoynoff wrote a powerful essay accusing Donald Trump of sexually assaulting her in 2005 during an interview at his Mar-a-Lago vacation home. Trump has since vehemently denied the accusations and even questioned Stoynoff’s story during a campaign rally by saying, “Look at her ... I don’t think so.”
On Tuesday, People published a report featuring six people who the outlet says can corroborate Stoynoff’s story. Included are two of Stoynoff’s longtime friends and three coworkers.
In her original People essay, Stoynoff wrote that she was interviewing the Trumps at their Mar-a-Lago resort. During a break, Melania Trump stepped away to change clothes, Stoynoff wrote. Donald Trump, the essay continued, took her into a room alone and told her: “You know we’re going to have an affair, don’t you?”
“We walked into that room alone, and Trump shut the door behind us. I turned around, and within seconds he was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat,” she wrote.
At the end of her essay, Stoynoff wrote that a few months after the alleged attack she ran into Melania on Fifth Avenue.
“That winter, I actually bumped into Melania on Fifth Avenue, in front of Trump Tower as she walked into the building, carrying baby Barron,” Stoynoff wrote. “’Natasha, why don’t we see you anymore?” [Melania] asked, giving me a hug. I was quiet and smiled, telling her I’d missed her, and I squeezed little Barron’s foot. I couldn’t discern what she knew. Did she really not guess why I hadn’t been around?”
Melania has denied this took place, both in a letter from her lawyer to People, and during an interview with Anderson Cooper which aired on Monday night.
“I was never friends with her, I would not recognize her,” Melania told Cooper.
One of the witnesses People interviewed was Liza Herz, Stoynoff’s friend from college who said she was there when Stoynoff ran into Melania Trump that day.
“They chatted in a friendly way,” Herz told People. “And what struck me most was that Melania was carrying a child and wearing heels.”
Five other witnesses spoke to People, including friends and coworkers of Stoynoff’s who said she spoke to them about the incident both the day of the alleged attack and after she returned from Mar-a-Lago.
Stoynoff’s former journalism professor Paul McLaughlin ― who also tweeted about the incident on the 13th ― told People that she called him crying the night the attack took place. “She wasn’t sure what she should do,” McLaughlin told People. “I advised her not to say anything, because I believed Trump would deny it and try to destroy her.”
And denied it he has. As Stoynoff told People: “It’s possible [Trump] just doesn’t remember it. It was over 10 years ago and I assume I am one of many, many women.”
Head over to People to read their comprehensive report about Stoynoff’s story and these six witnesses.
CORRECTION: This article has been edited to make clear that Stoynoff wrote that Donald Trump took her into a room alone while Melania Trump was elsewhere changing clothes.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.
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