2 women tell NY Times Donald Trump touched them inappropriately

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, October 13, 2016

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The New York Times has published interviews with two women who say they were touched inappropriately by Donald Trump without their permission.

One says Trump grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt during an airline flight.

The other says Trump kissed her "directly on the mouth" against her will. Trump tells the newspaper there is no truth to either of the claims.

Trump is drafting a lawsuit against the New York Times for defamation after Wednesday night's report by the paper alleging sexual misconduct, 3 senior level sources confirm to ABC.

One senior level source says "this is war."

A senior source within the campaign says they are digging into the possibility of revealing more accusers of Bill Clinton.

Another source within the campaign suggests the attacks come from the Clinton camp, saying "It's all coordinated. There's no question."

Some of the allegations were published on the New York Times web site.

The Times said Jessica Leeds, 74, of New York, told the newspaper she encountered Trump on an airline flight three decades ago.

"It was a real shock when all of a sudden his hands were all over me. He started encroaching on my space, he was like an octopus," she said.

33-year-old Rachel Crooks told the Times that Trump forcibly kissed her near an elevator at Trump Tower in 2005.

Crooks said she was a receptionist for a real estate investment and development company located at Trump Tower and met Trump outside an elevator in the building one morning. She introduced herself to the celebrity businessman, she said.

They shook hands but Trump would not let go, Crooks said, and he began kissing her cheeks and then kissed her on the mouth. "It was so inappropriate," she told the newspaper. "I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that."

Trump categorically denied the allegations. In a statement, the Trump campaign said, "This entire article is fiction, and for the New York Times to launch a completely false, coordinated character assassination against Mr. Trump on a topic like this is dangerous. To reach back decades in an attempt to smear Mr. Trump trivializes sexual assault and it sets a new low for where the media is willing to go in its efforts to determine this election. This is a sad day for the Times."

ABC News has not independently confirmed the New York Times report.

The women's stories come less than a week after the publication of a 2005 recording in which the Republican nominee boasted of groping women. Trump apologized for his comments, but also dismissed them as "locker room talk" and a distraction from the campaign.

Both women who spoke to the Times said they were coming forward with their stories because of the recording and Trump's response to questions about it at Sunday's presidential debate. The New York businessman said then he had never done the things he bragged about on the recording.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)