US & Canada

Trump dismisses E. Jean Carroll rape allegation as 'fiction'

E. Jean Carroll attending an event in 2015 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption E. Jean Carroll - seen here at an event in 2015 - has made the allegation in an article

US President Donald Trump has dismissed allegations that he raped a woman in a department store dressing room in the mid-1990s as "fiction".

The US president says he never met E. Jean Carroll and accuses her of making up the allegation to sell a new book.

Ms Carroll says she did not report the alleged attack at the time after being advised by a friend she had no chance of winning in court.

Her story was published in New York magazine on Friday.

More than a dozen women have previously made sexual misconduct allegations against Mr Trump, which he has denied.

What does E. Jean Carroll allege?

In the article, she describes meeting Mr Trump in late 1995 or early 1996, in Bergdorf Goodman. She says she recognised him as the "real estate tycoon" and that he told her he was buying a present for "a girl".

She says Mr Trump knew she was a TV agony aunt and the two joked around, encouraging each other to try on some lingerie.

She alleges that they then went to a dressing room, where she accuses him of raping her.

Both Mr Trump and Ms Carroll were aged around 50 at the time, and he was married to Marla Maples.

Ms Carroll says she told two friends about the alleged incident, one of whom advised her to go to the police.

But she says the other advised her against telling anyone saying: "Forget it! He has 200 lawyers. He'll bury you."

The accusation is one of six alleged attacks by "hideous men" that Ms Carroll details in her article.

Another alleged incident involves Les Moonves, the former CEO of CBS. He resigned in 2018 after allegations of sexual misconduct.

Mr Moonves' representative told New York magazine he "emphatically denies" the incident.

Ms Carroll ends the article by saying Mr Trump was her "last hideous man" and she has not had sex since then.

How did Trump respond?

"I've never met this person in my life," the US president said in a statement. "She is trying to sell a new book - that should indicate her motivation. It should be sold in the fiction section."

However, the New York magazine article included an image of Mr Trump and Ms Carroll together at an NBC party around 1987.

When he was asked about the photo on Saturday, Mr Trump said: "Standing with my coat on in a line, give me a break, with my back to the camera. I have no idea who she is."

He added: "There is some picture where we're shaking hands it looks like at some kind of event. I have my coat on, I have my wife standing next to me, and I didn't know her husband but he was a newscaster. But I have no idea who she is."

Mr Trump encouraged anyone with information that the Democratic Party is working with Ms Carroll or New York magazine to notify the White House.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Trump has described the allegations as "a disgrace"

He accused the publication of "peddling fake news" and called the magazine a "failing business."

"Shame on those who make up false stories of assault to try to get publicity for themselves, or sell a book, or carry out a political agenda," he said.

"It's just as bad for people to believe it, particularly when there is zero evidence," he added.

In his statement, Mr Trump thanked Bergdorf Goodman, the upmarket New York department store where the incident allegedly took place, for "confirming they have no video footage of any such incident".