The advice columnist E. Jean Carroll accused President Trump of sexually assaulting her in the mid-1990s in her forthcoming book.
In “What Do We Need Men For?,” her account of being harassed and mistreated by a series of men, which St. Martin’s Press is expected to publish next month, Ms. Carroll, the author of “Ask E. Jean” in Elle magazine, alleges that Mr. Trump raped her in 1995 or 1996, in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room. An excerpt that includes her account was published on New York magazine’s website earlier Friday.
Mr. Trump, in a statement, emphatically denied the incident. “I’ve never met this person in my life,” he said. “She is trying to sell a new book—that should indicate her motivation. It should be sold in the fiction section.”
In her book, Ms. Carroll describes what begins as a friendly encounter, as Mr. Trump, whom she’d met once before, asks her to try on lingerie that he is considering buying as a gift. Once they entered the dressing room, according to Ms. Carroll, Mr. Trump pushed her against the wall, pushed his mouth against her lips, then pulled down her tights, unzipped his pants and forced his “fingers around my private area, thrusts his penis halfway — or completely, I’m not certain — inside me.”
Ms. Carroll, now 76, wrote that she struggled and fought back and ran out of the dressing room, and that the whole episode lasted no more than three minutes. She wrote that she didn’t go to the police after the encounter but did tell two close friends, both journalists. One friend, a magazine writer, begged her to go to the police and offered to go with her. The other friend, a television anchor, advised Ms. Carroll not to report the assault because Mr. Trump’s lawyers would “bury” her. Ms. Carroll said she never came forward because she feared death threats and “being dragged through the mud, being dismissed.”
Mr. Trump has been accused of sexual misconduct before and was heard boasting of sexual assault in the “Access Hollywood” tape. Ms. Carroll’s descriptions of her encounter with Mr. Trump are the most explosive allegations in the book and will likely reignite the discussion over the president’s treatment of women and the assault allegations that have been raised against him.
Reached by phone at her home in upstate New York on Friday afternoon, Ms. Carroll said she decided to write about her experience now because she felt she owed her readers transparency. “I just thought, it’s time, I owe it to my beloved readers. I can’t keep up this facade,” she said.
She initially planned a book in which she traveled the United States and spoke with women about their problems with men, but she decided on a more personal account after the allegations against Harvey Weinstein surfaced.
The details of her encounter with Mr. Trump are still vivid in her memory, including the clothing she wore and her feeling of shock, Ms. Carroll said. “It’s welded into my brain.”
One of Ms. Carroll’s friends, the magazine reporter, confirmed with The Times that Carroll called her shortly after the events described in the book and told her what had happened. The friend, who asked The Times to withhold her name because she feared negative repercussions that could result from the book, said she urged Carroll to report the incident to the police and offered to go with her. Ms. Carroll seemed conflicted about what to do, the friend said, and even laughed about it.
Her other friend, the TV anchor, also confirmed with The Times that Ms. Carroll described the assault in the days afterward. She also asked The Times to withhold her name.
Ms. Carroll said that she didn’t dwell on her memories in the years after it happened. “I am one of those people who puts the past clearly behind them,” she said.
But in the book, she hints at lasting trauma, when she notes that after the encounter, she never had sex with anybody again. “Maybe all this just killed my desire for desire,” she said in the interview.
The memoir, which The Times obtained a copy of, is described by her publisher as a “darkly funny and very personal” account about Ms. Carroll’s “sometimes very dark history with the opposite sex.”
She accuses other powerful men of sexual harassment, including former CBS’s former chief executive Les Moonves, as well as her encounters and troubled history with mafia bosses, media titans, boyfriends and husbands and a serial killer.
A spokesman for Mr. Moonves didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. In the New York excerpt, he denied that the harassment occurred.
Lawyers for St. Martin’s conducted a legal review of Ms. Carroll’s memoir, said Elisabeth Dyssegaard, executive editor at St. Martin’s.
Follow Alexandra Alter on Twitter: @xanalter.
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