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The Trump campaign has not been lacking in controversy during the election season. Trump’s calls for a wall on the border with Mexico, calls for an end to Muslims immigrating to the United States, and frequent inflammatory comments about women, a disabled reporter, and certain racial minorities has not gone unnoticed by the media.
However, one story has been largely ignored by the media: in 1994, a woman identified as Katie Johnson claimed that she was raped by Donald Trump. In 2016, she filed without legal representation in California, for “sexual abuse under threat of harm” and “conspiracy to deprive civil rights” against Donald Trump and registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. The suit was dismissed over technical filing errors and the plaintiff failing to avoid the cost of litigation.
Jeffrey Epstein is a convicted level 3 sex offender in the state of Florida, a sex offender considered to be a “threat to public safety”. He was a multi-billionaire options trader and financier, with connections to former president Bill Clinton, Kevin Spacey, Chris Tucker, and Ghislane Maxwell. In 2008 he served 13 months of an 18 month prison sentence for soliciting an underage girl for prostitution, and court documents allege he ran a “sexual abuse ring” where he allowed “prominent American politicians, powerful business executives, foreign presidents, a well-known prime minister, and other world leaders” chances to have sex with underage women.
The allegations within the suit were quite serious. Johnson claims that Jeffrey Epstein and Donald Trump forced her to commit “various perverted and depraved sex acts by threatening physical harm to Plaintiff Johnson and her family”, made her their “sex slave”, “subject to extreme sexual and physical abuse… including forcible rape during a four month time span covering the months June-September 1994 when Plaintiff Johnson was only a minor of age 13”, and enticed her “by promises of money and a modeling career to attend a series of underage sex parties held at the New York City residence of Defendant Jeffrey E. Epstein and attended by Defendant Donald J. Trump.”
For such serious allegations aimed at a presidential candidate, especially the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party, it is amazing how little coverage the suit has gotten. When the suit was dismissed in May of 2016 in California, Radar Online was one of the only sources to report on it, as: “EXCLUSIVE: Case Dismissed! Judge Trashes Bogus Donald Trump Rape Lawsuit.” There was no evidence that the judge “trash[ed]” the rape lawsuit, nor was their any ruling that the filing was, in fact, “bogus”.
On June 20, 2016, The Gothamist reported that Johnson filed a similar case in New York as a “Jane Doe”, and now has legal representation. The suit requested $75,000 in damages along with fees for injunctive relief. The statute of limitations has passed in New York for filing suit has expired, but The Real Deal reports that: “It should be noted that anyone can file a civil complaint in federal court. The statute of limitations in New York for civil rape cases is five years, but Monday’s complaint argues that the time limit should be waived, noting that the plaintiff was too frightened to report the abuse because Trump had threatened that if she did ‘her family would be physically harmed if not killed.’”
The suit, which has now been published on the document hosting site Scribd, contains the original claims, as well as two sworn declarations attesting to the alleged rapes. The first, from Jane Doe, is a list of 13 declarations regarding the incidents, including some of the following statements.
“I traveled by bus to New York City in June 1994 in the hope of starting a modeling career. I went to several modeling agencies but was told that I needed to put together a modeling portfolio before I would be considered. I then went to the Port Authority in New York City to start to make my way back home. There I met a woman who introduced herself to me as Tiffany. She told me about the parties and said that, if I would join her at the parties, I would be introduced to people who could get me into the modeling profession. Tiffany also told me I would be paid for attending.
The parties were held at a New York City residence that was being used by Defendant Jeffrey Epstein. Each of the parties had other minor females and a number of guests of Mr. Epstein, including Defendant Donald Trump at four of the parties I attended. I understood that both Mr. Trump and Mr. Epstein knew I was 13 years old.
Defendant Trump had sexual contact with me at four different parties in the summer of 1994. On the fourth and final sexual encounter with Defendant Trump, Defendant Trump tied me to a bed, exposed himself to me, and then proceeded to forcibly rape me. During the course of this savage sexual attack, I loudly pleaded with Defendant Trump to stop but he did not. Defendant Trump responded to my pleas by violently striking me in the face with his open hand and screaming that he would do whatever he wanted.
Immediately following this rape, Defendant Trump threatened me that, were I ever to reveal any of the details of Defendant Trump’s sexual and physical abuse of me, my family and I would be physically harmed if not killed…
I have no reason to believe that the Defendants’ threats have ever been lifted or will ever be lifted and so I request that the Court issue an order protecting me and my family from harm and harassment by the Defendants.”
The second document is from “Tiffany”, who claims she was the “party planner” for Mr. Epstein that would entice young, often underage women to parties held by Mr. Epstein. She alleges that Epstein also raped her and threatened her for her silence. Amongst the 16 declarations, the most prominent are:
“I personally witnessed four sexual encounters that the Plaintiff was forced to have with Mr. Trump during this period, including the fourth of these encounters where Mr. Trump forcibly raped her despite her pleas to stop.
I personally witnessed the one occasion where Mr. Trump forced the Plaintiff and a 12-year-old female named Maria [to] perform oral sex on Mr. Trump and witnessed his physical abuse of both minors when they finished the act.
It was my job to personally witness and supervise encounters between the underage girls that Mr. Epstein hired and his guests.”
Mr. Trump’s own previous history with accusations of sexual assault also bring into question the character of the presumptive Republican nominee. Jill Harth accused him of rape in a 1997 lawsuit, but she ended up dropping her lawsuit against the business magnate. His ex-wife, Ivana Trump, accused him of rape, which she later claimed she meant “not in a literal or criminal sense”. The Trump organization and campaign have also called the accusation against him by Johnson/Jane Doe as impossible, and Trump Organization Special Counsel Michael Cohen referred to the case by Ivana Trump as: “You’re talking about the frontrunner for the GOP, presidential candidate, as well as a private individual who never raped anybody. And, of course, understand that by the very definition, you can’t rape your spouse.” Cohen later had to apologize for his statements.
This is a very serious and credible lawsuit against Mr. Trump, yet very few media outlets have reported upon this issue. The Huffington Post, known for almost tabloid-style reporting of certain political issues, ran an article which was surprisingly accurate about the lack of reporting in “Why The New Child Rape Case Filed Against Donald Trump Should Not Be Ignored.”
The issue is that this lawsuit deals with powerful men, with connections the average person would never have. Jeffrey Epstein was powerful in the financial world, was associated with American and foreign politicians, Harvard professors like law professor Alan Dershowitz (allegedly), and William Jefferson Clinton, whose wife is running for the presidency against Mr. Trump. This lawsuit has been clouded by political influence and a political run, and further investigation into this case may lead to issues with both presumptive nominees of their respective parties in an already convoluted election year.
The suit does have a very large political shadow upon it, especially because it is accusing the Republicans’ choice for leader of the free world of sexual assault and sexual slavery. However, given the history of ignoring prominent mens’ accusations of sexual assault, such as Bill Cosby, the lack of media attention is particularly concerning on this case.