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Former model accuses Trump of assault during 1990s tennis tournament

A legal adviser to President Trump’s campaign called the allegations “totally false.”
A legal adviser to President Trump’s campaign called the allegations “totally false.” (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
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A former model on Thursday became the latest woman to accuse President Trump of assault, telling the Guardian that Trump groped and kissed her against her will outside a bathroom at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in 1997.

Amy Dorris, who was 24 at the time of the alleged incident, told the Guardian that her encounter with Trump left her feeling “sick” and “violated,” and that she had struggled for years with whether she should speak publicly, including before the 2016 election.

Dorris did not return calls from The Washington Post, but her account was corroborated by her mother, Katherine Dorris, who said Dorris confided in her about the incident at the time it happened. Separately, a friend of Amy Dorris, Caron Bernstein, told The Post that Dorris had authorized her to speak on her behalf and to confirm that the details in the Guardian piece were accurate.

Bernstein, who also worked as a model, said Dorris first told her 12 or 13 years ago about the episode, in which she said Trump grabbed her when she came out of a bathroom, stuck his tongue down her throat and groped her body.

“Her story has never deviated,” Bernstein said.

In a statement, Jenna Ellis, a legal adviser to Trump’s campaign, called the allegations “totally false” and a “pathetic attempt to attack President Trump right before the election.”

Dorris is one of more than a dozen women who have accused Trump of unwanted physical contact in the years before he was elected. While some accusers came forward before the 2016 election, others have spoken out more recently, including longtime magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll, who said Trump raped her in a department store dressing room in 1995 or 1996.

The president says he's "very happy" sexual misconduct by powerful men is being "exposed." He denies all of the allegations against him. (Video: Meg Kelly/The Washington Post)

Trump has denied the allegations and said the women are lying.

Carroll is suing him for defamation. The Justice Department recently moved to intervene in the matter and represent the president, arguing that he was acting in his official capacity when he denied Carroll’s claims in interviews in 2019.

Justice Dept. intervenes on behalf of Trump in defamation case brought by woman who accused him of rape

He is also being sued by Summer Zervos, a former contestant on “The Apprentice” who alleges that Trump groped and kissed her without her consent at a Los Angeles hotel in 2007 during what she thought was a meeting to discuss a job.

Dorris, now 48, told the Guardian that the alleged assault happened while she was visiting New York from Florida with her then-boyfriend, who was friends with Trump. The couple attended several events with Trump over several days. Photographs she provided the Guardian show her with Trump and other celebrities at the tennis tournament and at Trump Tower.

At the time, Trump, then a celebrity developer, was married to Marla Maples, his second wife.

Dorris said that the incident occurred when she was a guest in his private box at the U.S. Open, and that he followed her as she excused herself to use a nearby bathroom.

Dorris told the Guardian that when she came out, Trump kissed her, “his grip became tighter and his hands were very gropey and all over my butt, my breasts, my back, everything.”

“I was in his grip, and I couldn’t get out of it,” she said. She told the Guardian that she told Trump to stop, but “he didn’t care.”

In an interview, Dorris’s mother told The Post that her daughter called her from New York and told her she’d been “molested” by Trump.

“She said he stuck his tongue down her throat and was groping her,” Katherine Dorris said.

Lawyers for Trump noted to the Guardian that she continued to spend time with him in the days after the incident.

Doris told the Guardian that she did so because she was visiting from out of town and had “no money, nowhere to go. We were going from event to event and it was overwhelming.”

Katherine Dorris and Bernstein both said she had considered speaking publicly before the last election but had decided to remain quiet because she was frightened, particularly because she has twin daughters who were small at the time.

“Her kids were younger, and she was really scared when the other women came out,” said Katherine Dorris.

But Amy Dorris was swayed by the #MeToo movement and by Bernstein’s decision in 2017 to speak publicly about being raped, Bernstein said. She said the two friends had discussed how coming forward had been empowering for her.

Another woman has accused Trump of assaulting her at the U.S. Open tennis tournament a year later, describing the experience at a news conference shortly before the 2016 election.

Karena Virginia said she attended the match in 1998 — the year after Dorris accompanied Trump. She said she was waiting alone outside the tennis complex to be picked up by a car service when she encountered Trump. She had never met the developer before, but he immediately began making comments about her appearance before wrapping his arm around her and reaching down to her breast, she claimed.

Woman says Trump groped her while attending U.S. Open tennis tourney in 1998

Trump denied Virginia’s account in 2016 through a campaign spokeswoman.

The latest allegation by Dorris echoes the rafts of claims made against Trump by women in the years since he began running for president, particularly in 2016 after the publication of the “Access Hollywood” video, in which Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women.

Several women who spoke out at the time have expressed frustration since then that more voters did not appear to be moved by their stories.

Bernstein said Dorris was partly motivated by a desire to reassure any other women with similar experiences that they are not alone.

“The hope is that those other women that we don’t know of, that they will be emboldened,” she said.

Alice Crites in Washington and Lori Rozsa in Boca Raton, Fla., contributed to this report.