Another Woman Accuses Trump of Sexual Misconduct
Accusations of sexual misconduct continue to dog the GOP nominee.
— -- Another woman came forward today accusing GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump of sexual misconduct today, adding to a growing list of women who have come forward with similar stories.
Cathy Heller, 63, alleges that Trump accosted her at a Mother's Day Event at Mar-A-Lago in the late 1990s, while she was with her family and her in-laws, according to a story first reported in The Guardian newspaper. The allegation has been denied by Trump campaign.
She told ABC News today that she was having brunch with her family at Mar-a-Lago on Mother's Day, sometime between 1996 and 2000, when Trump came to the table and was being introduced.
She said that when she put her hand out to say hello, he grabbed her unexpectedly and started to kiss her on the lips. She said she pulled away, but he grabbed her again and got her near her lips.
The incident happened in front of her family, and she yelled at her husband afterwards because he didn't do anything, she said.
She has told family and friends over the years, but didn't go public until now "because it wasn't newsworthy then," she said.
A friend's daughter who works for The Guardian approached her months ago asking if she would come forward, but Heller says she said no because she didn't think it was important then, but she feels it is now.
According to The Guardian, Heller's family is in a dispute with Mar-A-Lago regarding their efforts to get refunds of dues, and Cathy Heller is a Hillary Clinton supporter who donated the personal maximum of $2,700 to the Clinton campaign.
Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller issued a statement today denying the accusation.
"The media has gone too far in making this false accusation. There is no way that something like this would have happened in a public place on Mother’s Day at Mr. Trump’s resort. It would have been the talk of Palm Beach for the past two decades. The reality is this: for the media to wheel out a politically motivated Democratic activist with a legal dispute against this same resort owned by Mr. Trump does a disservice to the public, and anyone covering this story should be embarrassed for elevating this bogus claim," the statement said.
Heller is the third woman in the past two days to come forward with new allegations against Trump.
Summer Zervos, a candidate from Season 5 of "The Apprentice," gave a press conference Friday in which she said that Trump abused his role as a potential employer in an attempt to have sex with her in 2007. “He grabbed my shoulder and began kissing me again aggressively and placed his hand on my breast,” Zervos said, with civil rights attorney Gloria Allred by her side.
Meanwhile, Kristin Anderson spoke to The Washington Post, alleging that Trump put his hand up her skirt all the way to her underwear in the early 1990s.
Neither Zervos nor Anderson reported the alleged incidents to authorities.
Trump has repeatedly denied the mounting allegations against him. On Friday, while speaking at a rally in North Carolina, Trump said that his advisers had urged him to move on from the accusations, but said he wanted to defend himself.
"I feel I have to talk about it," Trump said. "I have no idea who these women are."
Zervos said that she is a Republican, while Anderson told The Post that she isn’t a supporter of Trump or Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. ABC News confirmed that Zervos is registered as a Republican in California.
Trump said today that no witnesses have come forward to back up the claims of his sexual accusers; however, Allred claimed at Zervos' press conference to have two witnesses. "Donald Trump thinks he can do and say whatever he wants," she said.
Anderson, for her part, told The Post that she decided to come forward after hearing Trump's comment that he grabbed women "by the p----" in a recording from 2005 first published last Friday by The Post.
Trump apologized for the comment in his second debate with Hillary Clinton, describing the words he used as "locker room talk."
Anderson said the language Trump used as transcended "locker room talk" and veered into the arena of sexual assault.
"It's a sexual assault issue, and it's something that I've kept quiet on my own," she told The Post.
Anderson urged women who have been touched inappropriately to come forward and speak up about it.
Anderson declined to speak to an ABC News reporter today, but after the story’s publication, ABC News spoke to a friend of Anderson's, Brad Trent, who confirmed what he told The Post about hearing the story from Anderson in 2007. He said that he was at dinner with Anderson and a group of friends in 2007 when he first heard the story. Trent said Anderson said that she was sitting next to Trump at the China Club and Trump slid his hand up her thigh and "grabbed her p----." Most people at the dinner already knew the story but Trent said he had not heard it yet. The story came up because they were at a restaurant that reminded them of the China Club, Trent said.
“Mr. Trump strongly denies this phony allegation by someone looking to get some free publicity. It is totally ridiculous,” Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks said regarding Anderson's accusation in a statement included in The Post story.
In a statement, Trump said of Zervos' accusation: "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."
Trump echoed the aforementioned sentiments in a tweet early Saturday morning, writing, "100% fabricated and made-up charges, pushed strongly by the media and the Clinton Campaign, may poison the minds of the American Voter. FIX!"
Late Friday night the Trump campaign issued a statement from a man named John Barry, whom the campaign says is Zervos's first cousin. According to the statement, Barry says he is "shocked and bewildered" by what Zervos said at Friday's press conference. Barry says, according to the campaign statement, that since Zervos was a contestant on "The Apprentice," she had "nothing but glowing things to say about Mr. Trump."
ABC News has not yet reached Barry to verify his relationship to Zervos or the statements attributed to him by the campaign.
ABC News reached out to Zervos but did not immediately receive a response. ABC News reached Zervos' father, who would not talk to ABC News other than to say that he’d provided an affidavit to Allred, who declined to provide a copy to ABC News.