Republican nominee Donald Trump has reportedly threatened to sue both a newspaper and the women who have come forward to accuse him of sexually assaulting them.
On Oct. 12, several news outlets published the stories of women who have accused Trump of sexually assaulting them. The flurry of accusations arrive days after a 2005 audio recording of Trump bragging about kissing and groping women without their consent surfaced, Slate reports.
The New York Times published the stories of Jessica Leeds and Rachel Crooks. Leeds has accused Trump of groping her during an airplane flight in the early 1980s while Crooks said the business mogul repeatedly kissed her on the face and mouth after she introduced herself to him on an elevator in 2005.
The same day, the Palm Beach Post published the story of Mindy McGillivray, who accused Trump of groping her posterior at his Mar-a-Lago resort in 2003. Photographer Ken Davidoff, who was present during the alleged incident, backed up McGillivray’s story.
Finally, People magazine writer Natasha Stoynoff asserted that Trump assaulted her at Mar-a-Lago in 2005. She recalled that while she was interviewing the real estate developer for the magazine, her pinned her against a wall and began kissing her while his wife, a then-pregnant Melania Trump, was changing in the other room.
The Trump campaign swiftly denied all of the allegations and threatened legal action.
“NYT editors, reporters, politically motivated accusers better lawyer up,” a Trump campaign official told CNN Money.
Attorney Marc E. Kasowitz, representing Trump, sent a letter to New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet demanding the newspaper retract the story featuring Leeds and Crooks, calling it “reckless, defamatory and constitutes libel per se.”
Kasowitz added: “Failure to do so will leave my client with no option but to pursue all available actions and remedies.”
On Oct. 13, Trump blasted his accusers during a rally in West Palm Beach, Florida.
“These vicious claims about me of inappropriate conduct with women are totally and absolutely false,” Trump told his supporters, according to Politico. “These events never, ever happened and the people that said them meekly fully understand.”
Trump promised he would provide evidence that would absolve him of the numerous accusations of inappropriate behavior.
“We already have substantial evidence to dispute these lies, and it will be made public in an appropriate way and at an appropriate time, very soon,” Trump said.
The same day, The New York Times’ general counsel David McCraw responded to Kasowitz’s demand for a retraction, firing back that Leeds' and Crooks’ accusations were not libel.
“The essence of a libel claim, of course, is the protection of one’s reputation,” McCraw wrote, according to Twitter. “Mr. Trump has bragged about his non-consensual sexual touching of women... Nothing in our article has had the slightest effect on the reputation that Mr. Trump, through his own words and actions, has already created for himself.”
McCraw added that The New York Times was confident that any lawsuit that Trump filed against it would backfire against the Republican nominee.
“If Mr. Trump... believes that American citizens had no right to hear what these women had to say and that the law of this country forces us and those who would dare to criticize him to stand silent or be punished, we welcome the opportunity to have a court set him straight,” McCraw concluded.