US Election 2016: Trump ‘groped woman like an octopus’

Donald Trump is facing a series of allegations of inappropriate sexual contact, after US media outlets reported claims from several women.

Two women told the New York Times that the Republican presidential runner groped or kissed them.

A reporter for People magazine wrote a first person account describing being forcibly kissed by the property tycoon.

Mr Trump’s campaign have rejected the claims, describing the NYT article as “defamatory”.

His camp has made public a letter to the NYT threatening legal action unless the paper retracts the article, which it called “a politically-motivated effort to defeat Mr Trump’s candidacy”.

Late last week, a video shot in 2005 emerged which showed Mr Trump making obscene remarks about groping women.

He apologised for the comments – which were widely condemned – but described them as “locker-room talk”.

Many top Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, have since distanced themselves from the businessman-turned-politician.

In the NYT, Jessica Leeds, 74, from Manhattan, said she had been sitting next to Mr Trump in the first-class cabin of a flight to New York when he lifted the armrest and began to touch her.

“He was like an octopus… his hands were everywhere,” said Ms Leeds, who was 38 at the time. “It was an assault.”

Rachel Crooks said she was kissed on the lips by Mr Trump outside a lift in Trump Tower when she was a 22-year-old receptionist at a real estate company there.

“It was so inappropriate,” Ms Crooks told the paper. “I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that.”

Neither women reported their accounts to the authorities, but both shared what happened to them with friends and family.

In People magazine, meanwhile, writer Natasha Stoynoff said an incident took place in December 2005, when she went to interview the Trumps ahead of their first wedding anniversary.

Mr Trump said he wanted to show her around their Florida estate, including one “tremendous” room.

“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,” Ms Stoynoff wrote.

A spokesman said the account in People had “no merit or veracity”.

Another woman, Mindy McGillivray, now 36, told the Palm Beach Post she was 23 when Trump grabbed her bottom at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida in 2003.

Her companion that day, photographer Ken Davidoff, told the newspaper he remembers her pulling him aside moments afterwards and telling him: “Donald just grabbed my ass!”

Mr Trump’s campaign rejected this claim.

In other reports:

• The Guardian quoted an unidentified contestant in the Miss USA 2001 pageant as saying the mogul walked in on her and a fellow contestant while they were naked. “He walked in, he stood and he stared,” she said

• According to Yahoo News, Cassandra Searles, who was Miss Washington 2013, in a comment on a Facebook post said Mr Trump “continually grabbed my ass and invited me to his hotel room”.

Source: BBC