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US elections 2016

Melania Trump demands 'People' retraction

Melania Trump has threatened "People" magazine and a former reporter with legal action over the writer's account of Donald Trump forcing himself on her during an interview. The allegations date from 2005.

The Republican presidential hopeful's wife denied Thursday that she ever met or spoke with former "People" magazine writer Natasha Stoynoff in New York and took to Twitter to publicize a letter penned by her attorney demanding a retraction and apology with the threat of a lawsuit.

The letter does not dispute Stoynoff's central allegation: that Donald Trump forcibly kissed her during an interview for an article for the celebrity gossip magazine to mark his wedding anniversary with his then-pregnant third wife Melania in 2005.

The celebrity-focused "People" magazine published a first-person account by Natasha Stoynoff of an interview she did with Donald and Melania Trump at their home in Florida.

Stoynoff wrote that when Melania Trump left the room, her husband pushed Stoynoff against a wall and forced himself on her. "I turned around, and within seconds he was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat," Stoynoff wrote.

Storynoff's former journalism professor also took to social media to defend his former pupil saying she'd been phoned him shortly after the alleged incident.

But lawyers for Mrs. Trump wrote that the article's description of an encounter between Melania Trump and Stoynoff after the interview is "false and completely fictionalized" and demanded that she retract her story within 24 hours or face unspecified legal action.

On the campaign trail, the real estate mogul-turned-reality TV star-turned Republican presidential nominee denied any wrongdoing in the wake of the half-dozen women who have come forward with similar claims over the past week.

"These vicious claims about me of inappropriate conduct with women are totally and absolutely false," Trump told a rally in West Palm Beach, Florida on Thursday.

In her account, Stoynoff said she asked to be taken off the "Trump beat," but later ran into the real estate magnate's wife in New York who asked why they hadn't seen the young reporter since.

The letter from Mrs. Trump's lawyers insist this meeting never took place and demand a retraction.

Donald Trump and wife Melania Trump

At least six women have accused Donald Trump of making unwanted physical advances in accounts reported by The New York Times, NBC, "People" magazine and other media outlets. During Sunday's presidential debate with his democratic rival Hillary Clinton, he insisted he had never sexually assaulted a woman.

Melania Trump is being represented by attorney Charles Harder, who also represented former wrestler Hulk Hogan in his successful lawsuit against Gawker Media. The suit resulted in a $140 million (127 million euro) jury award against the website for releasing a sex tape featuring Hogan and a friend's wife.

Across the country, dozens of Republicans facing re-election have called for Trump to step down as nominee or have withdrawn their support, hoping to spare themselves the fallout of Trump's sexually aggressive comments about women. They include prominent senators Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and John McCain of Arizona - both of whom face tough re-election challenges.

At a campaign stop in Columbus, Ohio, Trump rejected the claims again at a speech to young voters: "I never met these people. I don't even know who they are. They're made-up stories filed right before the election," he said.

jar/kl (AP, AFP)

 

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