A journalist wept as she told a jury how she was allegedly sexually assaulted by Donald Trump while on assignment to cover the former president’s one-year wedding anniversary at Mar-a-Lago in 2005.
Natasha Stoynoff took the stand as a witness in Trump’s civil rape and defamation trial Wednesday to support writer E Jean Carroll, who alleges she was raped by Trump at Bergdorf Goodman department store in 1996.
previous People The writer told jurors that Trump asked to show him a room at his Palm Beach club while he was conducting interviews for the magazine with him and his wife Melania, who was pregnant with their son Barron at the time.
“I hear the door close behind me, when I turn around he has his hands on my shoulder, pushing me against the wall and he starts kissing me,” she said.
Ms Stoynoff, a freelance journalist, author and screenwriter now living in Canada, said she was “nervous and in shock” as she tried to get Trump away from her.
The alleged encounter lasted a few minutes and only ended when a Mar-a-Lago butler entered the room, he said.
“I gave (the butler) a ‘get me out of here’ look,” Stoynoff said.
As they walked back to meet Melania, Stoynoff testified that Trump told him, “You know we’re going to have an affair. Don’t forget what he (his second wife of him, Marla Maples) said, ‘best sex I’ve ever had’.”
Ms. Stoynoff was emotional when she told the court that she was in shock and was unable to speak. “I choked, I couldn’t answer him,” she said.
When they met Melania, Trump “adored” his wife, he added.
Ms Stoynoff said she went on “autopilot” and tried to pretend the incident never happened as she wrapped up the interviews.
He said he told his former journalism professor and writing supervisor at People At the time, but he did not mention it to anyone more senior as he did not want to cause trouble for the magazine.
In October 2016, Ms. Stoynoff went public with the alleged incident for the first time in an article for People magazine.
She said she was “appalled” by the Access Hollywood tape in which Trump had been caught on a hot mike bragging about sexually assaulting women. The tape, recorded in 2005, had appeared two weeks earlier, shortly before the 2016 presidential election.
The jury was shown the two-minute clip, in which Trump claims that he “automatically” starts kissing women he is attracted to. “I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything, ”he says in the pictures.
Days later, Trump appeared at a presidential debate with Hillary Clinton, where he denied forcibly kissing a woman without her consent after a direct question from moderator Anderson Cooper.
Ms Stoynof told the court she got “sick to her stomach” seeing their denials and spoke to her editors in People about the publication of his first-hand account.
“I actually thought to myself, ‘oh, he does this to a lot of women,’ it’s not just me, it’s not something I did.
“The horrible part was that I got worried because I didn’t say anything that at that time other women were hurt by him. So I regretted there.
“I thought to myself, ‘liar.’ I felt really upset that he was lying to the American people.”
Carroll’s lawyers later played a clip from a Trump campaign rally in October 2016 in which he denied the claim and disparaged Stoynoff.
When Carroll’s attorney, Mike Ferrara, asked what she meant, Stoynoff replied, “I guess you mean I’m not attractive.”
Ms Stoynoff said she had been assigned the “Trump beat” in 2003 and interviewed her The newbie host about 10 times before the Mar-a-Lago meeting. He had invited her to dinner before her, but he had never forced her before, she said.
The jury then heard portions of Trump’s statement in which he repeated that Carroll had “fabricated” allegations that he had raped her in a dressing room at the upscale Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan in 1996.
Earlier on Wednesday, Trump’s attorney, Joe Tacopina, told the court that the defense would not call any witnesses.
He confirmed that his only expert witness would no longer appear. It was confirmed Tuesday that Trump would not testify in his own defense.
Ms Carroll’s lawyers are due to finish their case Thursday afternoon and the jury will be sent to deliberate after closing arguments on Monday.
Ms Carroll, 79, is seeking damages for defamation and assault, claiming her reputation was “destroyed” when the former president called her claims a “scam” in a Truth Social post in October 2022.
Trump, 76, has strongly denied that the rape occurred.