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Trump dismisses new sexual assault allegation

President Donald Trump rejected allegations of sexual assault by writer E. Jean Carroll. | Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Donald Trump on Friday rejected an allegation by journalist E. Jean Carroll that he sexually assaulted her in a Manhattan department store dressing room in the 1990s.

Carroll, a high-profile advice columnist, said she met Trump at Bergdorf Goodman in the mid-1990s when the then-real estate mogul was still married to Marla Maples. She alleged that after Trump asked her for advice in selecting a gift and they got talking, he sexually assaulted her in the dressing rooms of the store’s lingerie section.

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Trump said he had never met Carroll and accused her of making up the allegations to sell books, according to a statement distributed through the White House press pool.

“Shame on those who make up false stories of assault to try to get publicity for themselves, or sell a book, or carry out a political agenda—like Julie Swetnick who falsely accused Justice Brett Kavanaugh,” Trump said in the statement, referring to his nominee to the Supreme Court. “It’s just as bad for people to believe it, particularly when there is zero evidence.”

Carroll published her account of the alleged assault in New York Magazine, which Trump decried as a “dying publication trying to prop itself up by peddling fake news.”

The account was an excerpt of her book, “What Do We Need Men For?” in which Carroll alleges she sustained a number of assaults, including by Trump and former CBS executive Les Moonves

More than a dozen women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct before Carroll’s account was published Friday as a preview to her upcoming book release. Trump has denied every allegation of assault.

In her book, Carroll acknowledges that Trump denies her account. She quotes a White House response that says: “This is a completely false and unrealistic story surfacing 25 years after allegedly taking place and was created simply to make the President look bad.”

Carroll explained that she hasn’t come forward with her allegations before because of the hardships women often face after accusing powerful men of sexual misconduct. She also said she told two friends shortly after the alleged incident, one of whom encouraged her to report it to the police while the other told her to keep it to herself, citing Trump’s wealth and influence.

Trump’s alleged behavior toward women has been a major point of controversy since the earliest days of his campaign for the presidency. In October 2016, many in his campaign and party believed his presidential bid was over after a tape surfaced revealing Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women. The president later downplayed his remarks as “locker room talk.”

In his Friday statement, Trump insinuated the allegations were part of a political ploy by Democrats to discredit him. He also said that “people should pay dearly for such false accusations.”

Trump also said there was no evidence, such as a video surveillance, to corroborate Carroll’s account.

Carroll addresses this issue in her book, acknowledging that New York law at the time did not explicitly ban security cameras in dressing rooms. She also says the department store no longer has security tapes from that time.

Carroll rose to fame in the early 1990s for her advice column in Elle Magazine, and was well known in New York at the time. She writes that Trump, then a celebrated property developer, approached her calling her “that advice lady.” She writes that she in turn responded “Hey, you’re that real-estate tycoon.”

Though Trump claims the two have never met, New York Magazine published a photo of Carroll, Trump and their then-spouses laughing together in 1987.

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