6 people have backed up Natasha Stoynoff’s story about being assaulted by Trump
In an interview aired Monday, Melania Trump sat down with Anderson Cooper to defend her husband, following intense backlash regarding leaked tapes of Donald Trump boasting about sexual assault. Additionally, Melania denied all accusations by women who claim to have been assaulted by her husband, and particularly cracked down on accusations by People magazine’s Natasha Stoynoff. However, at this point, six witnesses have corroborated Stoynoff’s testimony on Trump, or at least various points of it, where Melania and her husband pretty much stand alone contesting it.
According to Stoynoff, she was reporting on the Trump’s first wedding anniversary in 2005, and visited them at Mar-a-Lago, the Trumps’ Florida estate. She alleges that when Melania went upstairs to change, Donald took Stoynoff to another room and “within seconds, he was pushing [her] against the wall, and forcing his tongue down [her] throat.”
Stoynoff alleges Donald only stopped when his butler entered the room. After his butler left, Donald told her: “You know we’re going to have an affair, don’t you?” Since, he has denied the allegations by implying Stoynoff isn’t attractive enough for his taste, brushing them off by saying “look at her.”
In her interview with Cooper, Melania bitterly denied having a friendly relationship with Stoynoff as Stoynoff had claimed and denied an encounter Stoynoff claimed took place after the alleged assault occurred. Stoynoff claims she ran into Melania in New York City, and Melania asked why they didn’t see her anymore.
“I actually bumped into Melania on Fifth Avenue, in front of Trump Tower, as she walked into the building, carrying baby Barron. ‘Natasha, why don’t we see you anymore?’ she asked, giving me a hug,” Stoynoff wrote in her account of events.
This alleged encounter, while vehemently denied by Melania, is backed up by a friend Stoynoff was with at the time. “They chatted in a friendly way,” Lisa Herz, who met Stoynoff in college, told People of the incident in question. “And what struck me most was that Melania was carrying a child and wearing heels.”
Another long-time friend of Stoynoff, Marina Grasic, told People that Stoynoff called her and told her about the assault the day after it happened.
“Natasha was also struggling about not hurting pregnant Melania if the story came out,” Grasic told the magazine. “Beyond just the attack, she was horrified by the vulgar circumstances under which she was attacked and propositioned to have an affair. She was there in a professional capacity, writing an article about their happy marriage, and after the incident Trump acted like nothing happened.” Grasic claims that Stoynoff, in 2005, primarily expressed concern with what else Trump was capable of doing to women.
Another notable witness is People’s East Coast Editor Liz McNeil, who claims Stoynoff confided in her about the incident upon returning from assignment in Florida. “She was very upset and told me how he shoved her against a wall,” McNeil said of Stoynoff, adding, “The thing I remember most was how scared she was. I felt I had to protect her.”
Meanwhile, People’s Deputy East Coast News Editor Mary Green recalls being excited to catch up with Stoynoff in December 2005 after Green had taken a leave of absence for a couple years, only to find Stoynoff anxious and “haunted” by the recent encounter, which Stoynoff proceeded to recount to Green. According to Green, it went down like this:
“She was shaky, sitting at her desk, relaying that, ‘He took me to this other room, and when we stepped inside, he pushed me against a wall and stuck his tongue down my throat. Melania was upstairs and could have walked in at any time.’ She talked about her shock, and wondered why it had happened, if she had done anything wrong. I assured her she hadn’t. She was also angry that he had forced himself on her, that she was glad someone had interrupted him, because he was surprisingly strong.”
Liza Hamm, another coworker at People, claims she was just one among a tight-knit group of People staffers whom Stoynoff confided in. “She told me that she asked to be taken off the Trump beat, but she tried her best to move past the experience and continue to do her job well,” Hamm, who called Stoynoff a “consummate professional,” recalls.
Arguably most telling of all, Stoynoff’s former journalism professor, Paul McLaughlin, told People that Stoynoff called him crying the same night of the alleged assault seeking advice. McLaughlin claims he was the one who advised her to hold her silence to keep herself safe from retaliation from Trump. Predictably enough, Trump and his wife have wasted no time attacking her character since Stoynoff came forward.
Granted, these witnesses can really only corroborate that Stoynoff told them about her accusations, but the timeline and her state of being when she came forward to them certainly add credibility to her story. Trump is likely never going to apologize, let alone admit to his actions, but these testimonies are going to make denying the alleged incident exponentially more difficult.
To Stoynoff, it could even just be that Trump has simply forgotten that the incident from more than 10 years ago even took place. “It’s possible he just doesn’t remember it,” Stoynoff told the magazine. “It was over 10 years ago and I assume I am one of many, many women.”