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Trump faced sexual assault claim before presidential campaign

June 28, 2019 GMT

CLAIM: President Donald Trump went his “entire life with zero sex assault claims” until he ran for president.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. At least one woman publicly accused Trump of sexual assault in a 1997 lawsuit.

THE FACTS: Several women stepped forward during the 2016 presidential campaign to publicly claim that Trump had sexually assaulted or harassed them in the past. But one of the women, Jill Harth, had sued him in 1997 over sexual assault allegations. Harth discussed the allegations again in 2016, when Trump ran for office. 

A post circulating on Facebook featuring an image of Trump with a group of Playboy bunnies wrongly states that Trump was a “billionaire surrounded by beautiful women his entire life” without being accused of sexual assault until he ran for president against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. 

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The image began circulating after E. Jean Carroll, a feature writer and longtime Elle advice columnist, wrote a story published in New York Magazine last week alleging that Trump sexually assaulted her in the dressing room of a Manhattan department store in the mid-1990s.  Trump described the latest accusation from Carroll as “totally false.” 

Harth filed a lawsuit in 1997 accusing Trump of sexually assaulting her but later dropped the lawsuit after settling with Trump in a separate breach of contract case, according to reporting by The Associated Press. Harth, a former business associate of Trump, told The New York Times that in 1992 he put his hands under her skirt during a business dinner. 

Trump has denied allegations of sexual harassment or assault since the 2016 campaign.

Just weeks before the 2016 presidential election, a 2005 tape emerged of Trump on “Access Hollywood” that showed him bragging about grabbing women by the genitals.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536