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A former Apprentice contestant said she was kissed and groped by Donald Trump at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2007.
Summer Zervos said the release of the now-infamous Access Hollywood tapes and Trump’s subsequent denials of wrongdoing made her feel the need to speak out.
Many have criticized Trump’s statements on the tapes as advocating sexual assault because, in them, Trump tells Billy Bush that he can’t keep himself from kissing beautiful women. Trump says, “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. Grab them by the p—y. You can do anything.” The presidential nominee has since chalked the comments up to nothing more than “locker room” talk and deflected by saying Bill Clinton has said and done worse. He’s also denied ever having done such a thing.
Zervos is the latest of several women to come forward and say Trump has, in fact, done the things he bragged about doing on those tapes.
Trump has threatened to sue over articles published this week by The New York Times and Palm Beach Post that tell the stories of other women who say they were groped by the reality star.
Zervos was a contestant on season five of The Apprentice. Despite being “fired” from the show, she said she continued to see Trump as a mentor and potential employer.
In a Friday-morning press conference, she read a five-page statement detailing her experience. (Read it in full below.)
She said Trump called and invited her to dinner while he was visiting L.A. However, when she arrived at the Beverly Hills Hotel, his security team brought her to a bungalow, not the restaurant. That’s where, said Zervos, he assaulted her.
“He then grabbed my shoulder and began kissing me again very aggressively and placed his hand on my breast,” recalled Zervos. “I pulled back and walked to another part of the room. He then walked up, he grabbed my hand and walked me into the bedroom.”
She said he asked her to lay down and watch television and, when she tried to push him away, “he began thrusting his genitals.”
When dinner arrived, she said, things then became all about business. However, nothing they discussed panned out, and Zervos said she feels like she was denied career opportunities because she refused to sleep with Trump.
When asked why she decided to come forward now, Zervos said, “I want to be able to sleep when I’m 70 at night.”
Attorney Gloria Allred, who also is representing several women who say they were assaulted by Bill Cosby, said she has two witnesses who can corroborate the story, but Zervos does not intend to sue.
In her own statement, Allred spoke directly to Trump: “Your star has been irreparably tarnished by your own words coupled with the accusations of the many women who have made allegations against you. You think that this is all one large conspiracy. I have news for you, Donald. There is no conspiracy. It is you and you alone who have brought you to this precipice. It is you and you alone who is responsible. It is my understanding that your campaign may try to discredit the accusers and in essence are declaring war on women, but women will not be silenced by this tactic. Women are now empowered, and they will not be bullied into silence anymore.”
On Friday afternoon, Trump released a statement on Zervos‘ allegations. Read it in full below.
“I vaguely remember Ms. Zervos as one of the many contestants on The Apprentice over the years. To be clear, I never met her at a hotel or greeted her inappropriately a decade ago. That is not who I am as a person, and it is not how I’ve conducted my life. In fact, Ms. Zervos continued to contact me for help, emailing my office on April 14th of this year asking that I visit her restaurant in California.
Beyond that, the media is now creating a theater of absurdity that threatens to tear our democratic process apart and poison the minds of the American public. When Gloria Allred is given the same weighting on national television as the President of the United States, and unfounded accusations are treated as fact, with reporters throwing due diligence and fact-finding to the side in a rush to file their stories first, it’s evident that we truly are living in a broken system.
Hillary Clinton can spend all of her time and money pushing complete lies against our campaign, but I refuse to fall victim to this vicious cycle of personal attacks. In the coming days I plan on addressing our nation in a more personal way to present my vision for how together we fight to bring back American jobs and defend our country against radical Islamic terrorism. I will take my message directly to the American people and bypass the unethical press that wants to see their candidate elected. Together, we will make America great again.”
Oct. 14, 3:07 p.m. Updated with Trump’s statement.
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