The two friends who E. Jean Carroll confided in after she was allegedly raped by Donald Trump in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman have gone on the record to corroborate her claims.
Lisa Birnbach, the bestselling author of The Official Preppy Handbook, and former WCBS television anchor Carol Martin spoke with New York Times reporter Meghan Twohey on The Daily, revealing new details about their friend’s alleged assault.
The conversation between the women, and Carroll herself, also shined a light on why it was those two women whom the advice columnist, now 76, decided to call that day.
Martin was close with a person who had briefly dated Trump, while Birnbach had just returned from profiling him at Mar-a-Lago for New York.
That revelation about Birnbach along with the fact that her story was released in the Feb 12, 1996 issue of the magazine, strongly suggests that the alleged assault occurred in the fall of 1995 rather than the spring of the following year.
Corroborate: Lisa Birnbach (left), the bestselling author of The Official Preppy Handbook, and former WCBS television anchor Carol Martin (right) spoke with The New York Times
Denial: President Trump has denied the allegations being made by Carroll three times, saying on Monday ‘she’s not my type’ (Trump and his accuser above at a 1987 party with their spouses)
Birnbach was the first person Carroll called, just moments after she allegedly managed to fight off her attacker and run out the store.
‘I remember her saying repeatedly he pulled down my tights,’ said Birnbach, who recalled that Carroll could not stop laughing.
It was an infectious laugh, according to Birnbach, who recounted how she laughed along as well believing that Carroll’s tights being pulled down was the most serious offense of the counter.
Then, Carroll continued with her story.
‘Honestly, you did say he put his penis in me,’ said Birnbach.
‘And I said: “What, he raped you?”‘
Birnbach then began to try and convince her friends to go to the police and file a report, but Carroll refused to even consider the idea.
‘Come to my house!’ said Birnbach.
‘No, I want to go home,’ replied Carroll.
‘I’ll take you to the police!’ promised Birnbach.
‘No, it was 15 minutes of my life, it’s over. Don’t ever tell anyone its over.’
Birnbach then said that Carroll felt that she had ‘encouraged’ the alleged assault.
‘I know I did,’ shouted Carroll in response to her friend.
‘I know I did.’
Carroll instead chose to drive home and crawl into bed.
She told Martin one to three days after the incident, and the veteran anchor noted the Caroll was ‘handling it.’
‘She doesn’t breakdown easily,’ explained Martin.
‘It wasn’t like she started crying or anything that was frantic response to it.’
Martin then instructed Carroll not to go to police.
‘I said: “Don’t tell anybody. I wouldn’t tell anybody this.”‘
Even more remarkable, however, is that the women never spoke about the incident again, even during the election.
When asked why she didn’t come forward and accuse Trump during his campaign, Caroll said: ‘Shocking as it sounds, I thought it would help him. And shocking as it sounds, I was correct.’
When asked why she believed it would help, Carroll stated: ‘Because it is a masculine, powerful, leader-like thing to do to take what you want to have as many women for your own pleasure as you can take.’
Repeat: President Trump (above on Monday) again denied he sexually assaulted writer E Jean Carroll in an interview with The Hill on Monday
Nemesis: On Saturday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said: ‘The moment we in New York City and our police department have a complaint, we will investigate immediately’ (de Blasio above in November 2016 outside Trump Tower)
President Trump has denied Carroll’s allegations three times since Friday.
‘I’ll say it with great respect: Number one, she’s not my type. Number two, it never happened. It never happened, OK?’ Trump told The Hill.
In that same interview he also doubled down on his claim that he and Carroll had never met, despite a photo showing the pair in conversation at a 1987 event.
He previously dismissed this photo on Saturday by stating: ‘Standing with coat on in a line – give me a break – with my back to the camera. I have no idea who she is.’
President Trump’s third denial of these allegations came after Carroll revealed she would consider pressing charges against him, and Mayor Bill de Blasio promised a full investigation into her claims once a report was formerly filed with police.
‘Totally lying. I don’t know anything about her. I know nothing about this woman. I know nothing about her,’ claimed Trump on Monday.
‘She is – it’s just a terrible thing that people can make statements like that.’
Mayor de Blasio was in South Carolina over the weekend as he ramps up his appearances in the lead-up to the first debate of the presidential primary season.
It was there that he was asked about Carroll’s claims, one day after her story first ran in New York.
‘The moment we in New York City and our police department have a complaint, we will investigate immediately. We will find out the truth,’ said de Blasio.
He also called the allegations against Trump ‘the most serious of charges.’
His words appear to have resulted in a change of heart for Carroll, who was still skeptical about a formal complaint leading to any repercussions for President Trump in an interview that aired Monday morning on New Day.
There was a five-year statute when Carroll alleges she was assaulted however, which was later lifted by lawmakers in 2006 for all reports of first-degree rape.
In New York, an individual can be charged with that most serious offense by ‘compelling the victim through the use of physical force or the threat of immediate death, physical injury or kidnapping,’ engages in sexual intercourse with a person who is ‘incapable of consent by reason,’ or if the person is a minor.
The Supreme Court ruled however in Stronger v. California that even if the statute of limitations on reporting an offense is changed by lawmakers, an individual cannot be charged retroactively with a crime.
This would not be the case had Carroll reported the alleged assault to police at that time, but she was clear that she had not informed law enforcement.
On Friday, Carroll had said she would not consider pressing charges in an interview on MSNBC.
‘I would find it disrespectful to the women down on the border who are being raped around the clock down there without any protection,’ said Carroll.
‘They’re young women. These women have very little protection there and it would just be disrespectful.’
And while she also described what happened as ‘a fight,’ and said it ‘hurt and was ‘against my will,’ she still feels that she was able to deal with the situation.
‘Mine was three minutes, I am a mature woman, I can handle it, I can keep going. My life has gone on, I am a happy woman,’ explained Carroll.
‘But for the women down there, and for the women actually around the world, in every culture this is going on, no matter high in society or low in society it just seems disrespectful, it just doesn’t make sense to me.’
O’Donnell asked her to speak about the repercussions from the event and how she was able to process the alleged assault and eventually move on.
It doesn’t hurt at all. It hurt a little bit that day, but I very quickly – or at least I think quickly – I think I got over it very quickly,’ Carroll told O’Donnell.
‘Because my whole thing is out it behind you, enjoy life. Go enjoy life, it’s a Smorgasbord. Live an adventurous life, don’t lock yourself in the house. Let’s go Jean. Get up, don’t be a nitwit. Let’s go.’
Her allegations do share a number of similarities with comments President Trump made on the infamous ‘p****gate tape’ and claims made by Ivana Trump, who accused her ex-husband of rape but then walked back on that allegation.
Carroll, now 75, whose advice column has appeared in Elle for the past 26 years, alleges she was sexually assaulted by Trump in her new book What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal.
She has shared the story – and five others – with New York in a piece that also details how Les Moonves allegedly fondled her in an elevator and hints at an incident of sexual misconduct involving her former boss Roger Ailes.
Carroll appears on the magazine’s cover in the very same coat dress that she claims she was wearing on that day in the Fall of 1995 or Spring of 1996 when a chance encounter with Trump allegedly turned into a sexual assault.
Trump would have been married to Marla Maples at this time, and Carroll is now the 16th woman to accuse the president of sexual misconduct.
He had also recently welcomed a fourth child in 1993, daughter Tiffany.
Close quarters: Bergdorf Goodman (above) is only a block away from Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue
Family: Trump would have been married to Marla Maples at this time, who had given birth to daughter Tiffany in 1993 (above)
The White House responded to Carroll’s allegations by stating: ‘This is a completely false and unrealistic story surfacing 25 years after allegedly taking place and was created simply to make the President look bad.’
A heated Trump later expounded on this statement with his own remarks on Friday afternoon.
‘I’ve never met this person in my life. She is trying to sell a new book—that should indicate her motivation. It should be sold in the fiction section,’ said Trump.
‘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 went on to note the lack of evidence, specifically that there were no eyewitnesses or video footage of the alleged assault.
He added: ‘Ms. Carroll & New York Magazine: No pictures? No surveillance? No video? No reports? No sales attendants around?? I would like to thank Bergdorf Goodman for confirming they have no video footage of any such incident, because it never happened.’
Carroll included a photo showing Trump speaking to her at an event in the article, to which he replied: ‘Standing with my coat on in a line. Give me a break. With my back to the camera.’
Carroll claims she was on her way out of the store when Trump asked her for help with a gift and guided her towards the lingerie department.
She also notes that he looked handsome on the day in question, writing: ‘I am surprised at how good-looking he is. We’ve met once before, and perhaps it is the dusky light but he looks prettier than ever.’
Carroll was doing a daily talk show called Ask E Jean at the time for Ailes’ America’s Talking cable network, which is how she drew Trump’s attention.
‘Hey, you’re that advice lady!’ said Trump according to Carroll.
That was allegedly followed by a request from the real estate developer, whose Trump Tower is located just one block south of Bergdorf Goodman.
‘Come advise me. I gotta buy a present,’ said Trump according to Carroll, who tried to point out a few ideas in the store’s main foyer.
When they were all dismissed by Trump, she asked the age of the woman he was shopping for, prompting him to ask her the same question.
She was 52 at the time, two years older than Trump, and when she told him he allegedly started laughing and said: ‘You’re so old.’
He then said ‘lingerie’, according to Carroll, and the pair headed upstairs to that department.
Once there, Carroll claims she tried to diffuse repeated attempts to get her to model one of the wears by suggesting Trump try them on in a nearby dressing room.
It was when they went to one of those rooms that the alleged assault took place.
Walk and talk: Carroll has been leading Hideous Men tours around the city, where she stops at Trump Tower (above outside the building with one group)
No go: E Jean Carroll says she would not file charges against President Trump for allegedly assaulting her in what would likely qualify as a first-degree rape (Carroll above in 1996)
‘The moment the dressing-room door is closed, he lunges at me, pushes me against the wall, hitting my head quite badly, and puts his mouth against my lips. I am so shocked I shove him back and start laughing again,’ writes Carroll.
‘He seizes both my arms and pushes me up against the wall a second time, and, as I become aware of how large he is, he holds me against the wall with his shoulder and jams his hand under my coat dress and pulls down my tights.’
She continues: ‘I am astonished by what I’m about to write: I keep laughing. The next moment, still wearing correct business attire, shirt, tie, suit jacket, overcoat, he opens the overcoat, unzips his pants, and, forcing his fingers around my private area, thrusts his penis halfway — or completely, I’m not certain — inside me.’
Carroll claims that she fought off Trump before she was able to flee from the dressing room and out of the store.
She did not report the alleged assault to police, but did tell two friends she said, and has kept the dress ever since.
The first, who is not named but is described as a ‘a journalist, magazine writer, correspondent on the TV morning shows, author of many books,’ said: ‘He raped you. He raped you. Go to the police! I’ll go with you. We’ll go together.’
The second, a New York anchor woman, responded: ‘Tell no one. Forget it! He has 200 lawyers. He’ll bury you.’
New York spoke with those friends, and noted that ‘both still remember the incident clearly and confirmed their accounts.’
Carroll also acknowledged the fact that it took her 25 years to share her story, listing some of the reasons she was hesitant to come forward.
‘Receiving death threats, being driven from my home, being dismissed, being dragged through the mud, and joining the 15 women who’ve come forward with credible stories about how the man grabbed, badgered, belittled, mauled, molested, and assaulted them, only to see the man turn it around, deny, threaten, and attack them, never sounded like much fun,’ explained Caroll.
‘Also, I am a coward.’
She now joins a list of accusers that includes: Jessica Leeds, Kristin Anderson, Jill Harth, Cathy Heller, Temple Taggart McDowell, Karena Virginia, Melinda McGillivray, Rachel Crooks, Natasha Stoynoff, Jessica Drake, Ninni Laaksonen, Summer Zervos, Juliet Huddy, Alva Johnson, and Cassandra Searles.
Her decision to keep quiet is a bit of a surprise given that she has been leading Hideous Men tours around New York, where she stops at Trump Tower.
Other stops include the Fox News studios and Rockefeller Center.
It is Trump though who appears to loom largest for Carroll, as he was her ‘last hideous man.’
‘The Donna Karan coat dress still hangs on the back of my closet door, unworn and unlaundered since that evening,’ reveals Carroll.
‘And whether it’s my age, the fact that I haven’t met anyone fascinating enough over the past couple of decades to feel “the sap rising,” as Tom Wolfe put it, or if it’s the blot of the real-estate tycoon, I can’t say. But I have never had sex with anybody ever again.’