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Former ‘Apprentice’ contestant says Trump groped her
A former contestant on Donald Trump's reality TV show "The Apprentice" is the latest woman to accuse the GOP nominee of making unwanted sexual advances and groping.
Summer Zervos, a contestant on the fifth season of "The Apprentice," sat next to her attorney Gloria Allred at a press conference in Los Angeles on Friday as she tearfully detailed claims of how Trump forcibly kissed and groped her during an encounter at a Beverly Hills hotel in 2007.
Trump denied the accusations in a statement, saying he only "vaguely" remembers Zervos and that he never met her inside of a hotel room or touched her inappropriately.
He blamed the media for "throwing due diligence and fact-finding to the side in a rush to file their stories first."
"That is not who I am as a person, and it is not how I've conducted my life," Trump said. "In fact, Ms. Zervos continued to contact me for help, emailing my office on April 14th of this year asking that I visit her restaurant in California."
Zervos said that after being eliminated from the game show, she approached Trump about working at one of his golf courses in Southern California.
She said Trump set up a meeting about a job opportunity at a hotel room in Beverly Hills, where he greeted her with an "open-mouthed kiss."
Zervos said she was stunned and moved to the other side of the room to get away from him.
"He grabbed my shoulder and kissed me again aggressively and placed his hand on my breast," Zervos said, choking back tears. "I pulled back and walked to another part of the room. He grabbed my hand and walked me into the bedroom. I walked out."
After suggesting the two lay down on the bed to watch "telly-telly," Zervos said Trump again came onto her.
She said she pushed Trump away from her by the chest to "create space," and that Trump responded by telling her to "get real" and "thrusting his genitals" at her.
Zervos said Trump eventually became angered by her rebuff.
She said he bailed on a subsequent meeting, and that she received a job offer for half of what had been agreed upon.
When Zervos inquired about the disparity, Trump said she was no longer to contact him on his personal phone number and that the company had run into financial trouble and could no longer hire her.
"I wanted a job in your organization," Zervos said. "Instead you treated me as an object to be hit upon. You were interested in me only to have sexual relations with me and no other reason. After hearing your released audio tapes and denials during the debate, I felt I had to speak out about your behavior. You do not have the right to treat women as sexual objects just because you are a star."
More than a half-dozen women have come forward to say they were the subject of aggressive or unwanted sexual advances from Trump.
The GOP presidential nominee has denied all of the accusations and sought to discredit the accusers. He has lashed out at the press for printing their stories and is threatening to sue several publications that have printed their accounts.
Some have raised questions about the timing of the women coming forward, saying it is suspicious that the allegations are happening so close to the election and did not come out during the primary.
But several of the women say they were moved to action by Trump's lewd remarks, caught on a hot microphone from an "Access Hollywood" appearance in 2005, in which Trump bragged about grabbing women and being able to get away with it because of his celebrity.
Allred said Friday that some women have "feared the wrath and retaliation from Mr. Trump and his supporters," that some thought they were the only victims or that people wouldn't believe them until others came forward.
She urged Trump to "get help" and to drop out of the presidential race.
"Donald, before you can become president of the United States, you must first learn how to treat women with respect. Your words alone are disgraceful," Allred said.
"The White House is not a locker room, and the American people deserve better than a president who feels entitled to grope, grab and assault women at his pleasure. You should be ashamed of yourself."
- Updated at 6:11 p.m.