In 1997, a woman named Jill Harth filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump alleging he had groped her and attempted rape. She’s stayed quiet for 20 years since the incident, but when the media started inquiring into the lawsuit at the start of Trump’s campaign the Republican presidential nominee called her a liar. That’s when Harth decided she could no longer be silent.
Harth’s first meeting with Trump happened in December 1992 when she and her romantic business partner, George Houraney, were making a presentation at Trump Towers asking Trump to sponsor an American Dream Girls Calendar pin-up competition at one of his casinos in Atlantic City. Harth says the meeting was “the highlight of our career.”
But it was during that meeting when Harth says Trump took an interest in her and began a series of unwanted sexual advances.
Harth says it first began with leering, then inappropriate questions about her relationship status. The next night, Harth she and beauty pageant contestants held a dinner in the Oak Room at the Plaza Hotel, when Trump first touched her inappropriately under the table groping her thighs and trying to move towards her underwear.
One month later in January 1993, Harth and Houraney were visiting Trump’s Florida estate Mar-a-Lago celebrating the beauty pageant deal with a party. During a tour of the mansion, Harth says that’s when Trump pulled her into one of his children’s bedrooms and again put his hand up her skirt.
Harth tells The Guardian:
“He pushed me up against the wall, and had his hands all over me and tried to get up my dress again, and I had to physically say: ‘What are you doing? Stop it.’ It was a shocking thing to have him do this because he knew I was with George, he knew they were in the next room. And how could he be doing this when I’m there for business?”
When she tried to leave, Trump continued to sexually harass her and grope her which made Harth vomit. He urged her to keep her mouth shut.
This all happened during the time Trump had divorced his first wife Ivana and was in a relationship with Marla Maples. Harth said Trump did everything he could to try to get her to leave Houraney, and that he would often call her and say:
“‘I love you, baby, I’m going to be the best lover you ever had. What are you doing with that loser, you need to be with me, you need to step it up to the big leagues.’ “
The lawsuit states he often tried to lure Harth to his Trump Tower apartment and told her he wanted to treat her like a “sex object and slave” to satisfy his sexual needs as a “stud.”
Harth said she was fearful and emotionally distraught because refusing his advances might mean bad things for their business arrangement, which would affect her professional life.
Harth said she tried to suppress these emotions and memories and it ultimately had a negative effect on her relationship with Houraney. In 1997, she filed the lawsuit for emotional damages, sexual harassment and attempted rape which violated her Constitutional right to privacy and bodily autonomy. Trump and his associates threatened her business reputation and business. She decided not to go forward with the complaint because Trump had settled a lawsuit with her business partner for backing out of his contract with the American Dream festival.
For years she stayed quiet about the incidences. When Trump announced his candidacy, she resolved to stay silent even as media requests for interviews came rolling in. Until she saw Trump call her claims “reckless” and “meritless.”
Harth says that’s when the calls started coming in from his office:
“His office – and I have it on my voicemails that he called, that they called – they asked me to recant everything when the New York Times article came out. They were trying to get me to say it never happened and I made it up. And I said I’m not doing that.”
She was further upset when Ivanka Trump also came to her father’s defense and said her dad “is not a groper.”
“I understand that the girl wanted to defend her dad, being it’s her dad, but what did she know? She was 10 years old! She was 10 years old at the time. She didn’t know what her father was about, what he was doing, how he was acting.”
That was when Harth decided all she wanted was for Trump to stop call her a liar. So she hired Lisa Bloom as her attorney.
Bloom says all Harth wants is to set the record straight:
“Jill is very clear that she is not a liar. And her reputation is important to her. And her living a life free of this kind of stress is important to her. So we’re calling on not only Mr. Trump, Ivanka Trump, too.”
But Harth expects very little from the Republican nominee:
“I’m not going to get an apology from him. That would be nice, but he – I don’t fully expect one. But he really should have been taught, if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything, OK? Don’t call me a liar.
“He didn’t have to say anything. For once, he should have closed his mouth. He didn’t have to comment. We were on great – not great, I’ll take that back – we were on good terms, friendly terms. He didn’t – he started this. What is happening now is of his own making, OK? I was quiet.”
Watch Jill Harth’s interview with The Guardian:
Featured Image The Guardian (Screen Capture)