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Post lewd tape, two women accuse Trump of ‘sexual assault’

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
Donald Trump, Arizona Speech

Less than a week after a lewd tape of Donald Trump surfaced in media, two women alleged that the Republican presidential nominee had 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 New York Times reported.

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

Following the report, another newspaper reported on Wednesday night that a woman said Trump groped her at his Mar-a-Lago estate 13 years ago. Trump’s campaign said her allegation “lacks any merit or veracity”. 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.

As soon as the video was broadcast, Trump apologised for his comments, but also dismissed them as “locker room talk” and a distraction from the campaign.

According to the latest report, both women who spoke to the Times said 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.

The other woman, Rachel Crooks of Ohio, told the newspaper that 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.

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

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