Jill Harth is a New York-based makeup artist who sued Donald Trump in April 1997, claiming that Trump displayed offensive sexual behavior around her between 1992 and 1997. A month after the lawsuit was filed though, she withdrew the suit. Trump has said that Harth’s allegations are false, but she has stood by them.
Trump said in October that he will sue the women who have accused him of sexual assault after the General Election. If he follows through, Harth has threatened to countersue. “If he sues me, I know that truth is an absolute defense, and I will countersue for the emotional hurt and lost income his attacks have caused me,” Harth told The Guardian.
In light of Trump’s comments about women in a 2005 tape that leaked on October 7, Harth has done more interviews. She even told the New York Daily News that she feels “vindicated to a certain degree” after the tape’s release. Harth’s allegations include a claim that Trump once assaulted her in his daughter Ivanka Trump’s bedroom at his Mar-A-Lago, Florida home.
Harth did an interview with Inside Edition, which aired on Tuesday, October 11.
After Trump was elected the next President, Harth quickly responded on Twitter:
Here is a look at Harth’s relationship with Trump and her lawsuit.
1. Harth & George Houraney Met Trump in 1992 as Beauty Pageant Promoters
Trump met Harth and George Hournaney, who would later become her husband and then ex-husband, in 1992 when they were beauty pageant promoters. At the time, Hournaney was running American Dream Enterprise in Florida and Harth was also involved in the business. Harth told WNYC in August that they met Trump at Trump Tower.
“Right off the bat, Donald made it very clear at that meeting that he was interested in me,” Harth recalled. “And I was, I was young at the time and I didn’t really know how to handle this. It was important that we got this deal, and made this happen.”
In an interview with the New York Times in October, Harth recalled a December 12, 1992 meeting with Trump over dinner. She claims he sat right next to her and was “relentless,” moving his hands up her dress and to her crotch.
“I didn’t know how to handle it. I would go away from him and say I have to go to the restroom. It was the escape route,” Harth recalled.
Trump and American Dream Enterprise got into business together after Trump told them he could hold their events in Atlantic City, which would help expand their company. Houraney, who hasn’t talked to Harth in years, told the Times that at one point, Trump asked him if he was sleeping with Harth.
2. In 1995, Houraney Sued Trump for Breach of Contract, 2 Years Before Harth Filed Her Sexual Assault Lawsuit
Although American Dream did end up hoping an event at a Trump casino, Trump suddenly ended their relationship in 1994. Houraney then filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit in 1995. According to Law Newz, the affidavits of Horaney and Harth were both ordered sealed in that case.
However, in July 1997, The New York Daily News reported on the case, writing that the breach-of-contract lawsuit included Harth’s allegations of sexual harassment.
The case was settled just days before a trial was scheduled and the settlement was not made public. The Daily News’ source at the time said it was a six-figure payout. Although the settlement was confidential, Harth told the Times in October that Trump paid more than $100,000.
A source for the Daily News at the time said that the settlement was “peanuts. Just their legal fees. Donald is very happy.”
3. Harth Filed a $125 Million Sexual Harassment Suit, Claiming Trump ‘Groped’ Her & Wanted to Make Her a ‘Sex Slave’
There was almost no press coverage of Harth’s sexual harassment lawsuit until February, when Law Newz reported on it in February. She filed the suit on April 25, 1997 and the 12-page document, which can be read in full below, includes detailed accounts of incidents Harth claims happened between 1992 and 1997.
However, when the lawsuit was mysteriously dropped in May 1997, the New York Daily News did report on it. When the breach-of-contract suit was settled two months later, the Daily News reported that Trump agreed to a settlement in that case because it would keep Harth from reviving the sexual assault case.
The allegations in the 1997 sexual harassment lawsuit are graphic. She alleges that the following incident happened on January 24, 1993 in Mar-A-Lago:
After Trump business associates left, the defendant (Trump) over the plaintiff’s objections forcibly prevented plaintiff from leaving and forcibly removed plaintiff to a bedroom, whereupon defendant (Trump) subjected plaintiff to defendant’s unwanted sexual advances, which included touching of plaintiff’s private parts in an act constituting attempted “rape.”
Harth also claims that, throughout 1993, Trump would call her Boca Raton home and request that she fly to New York to “sleep with him.” In another January 1993 incident, Harth claims Trump “forcibly” kissed and restrained her in Ivanka Trump’s bedroom.
Trump forcefully removed (Harth) from public areas of Mar-A-Lago in Florida and forced (her) into a bedroom belonging to defendant’s daughter Ivanka, wherein (Trump) forcibly kissed, fondled, and restrained (her) from leaving, against (her) will and despite her protests.
Harth also describes the way Trump would threaten her. She claimed that in September 1996, Trump “instigated a malicious, defamatory article in the [National] Enquirer of, about and concerning plaintiff, which included the false words of Trump saying the plaintiff ‘was trying to get into my pants.'” In December 1996, at the American Dream Festival in the Bahamas, Harth claims host Jim Gibson told her that “Trump wants to destroy you any way ir takes, legally or illegally.”
HArth claimed in her Inside Edition interview that Houraney took a picture of her and Trump at the moment he touched her under the table during that December 1992 meeting.
“That shows how brazen he was to do it under the table while my boyfriend took the pictures,” she said.
Here is the complete lawsuit:
In May 2016, the The New York Times included quotes from Harth’s 1996 deposition for the breach-of-contract case, in which she described that first meeting with Trump in 1992.
“Basically he name-dropped throughout that dinner, when he wasn’t groping me under the table,” she said in the deposition. “Let me just say, this was a very traumatic thing working for him.”
4. Trump Has Denied Harth’s Allegations & Says She Was ‘in Love With Me’
In 1997, Trump told the Daily News that the sexual harassment suit was “a desperate attempt to get me to settle a case they can’t win.” A source close to Trump told the Daily News that Harth “called Donald incessantly. This was before he was married. This suit is calculated to make Donald settle. But he never will settle.”
If you look in the National Enquirer, there was a story in there that she was in love with me. The woman has real problems. It’s ridiculous, I’ve never touched this woman.
The Trump campaign also sent Law Newz emails it claims Harth sent to Trump in 2015 and 2016, offering her services as a makeup artist to Trump. “I have always been very fond of Donald and I CARE about him as he helped me see the light and get out of the very damaging and abusive relationship I was in. I am so different and much better than I was before,” the email the Trump campaign provided reads.
In her Times interview in October, Harth admitted to dating Trump in 1998, after his marriage to Marla Maples ended.
“I was scared, thinking, ‘what am I going to do now?’” she told the Times. “When he called me and tried to work on me again, I was thinking maybe I should give this a try, maybe if he’s still working on me, I should give this rich guy a chance.”
She claims that Trump wanted her to get a boob job while they were dating in 1998.
“Mr. Trump denies each and every statement made by Ms. Harth,” Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks told the Times.
“I was getting scrutinized like a piece of cattle,” told Inside Edition about her time as rump’s girlfriend. “He wanted me to get a boob job.”
When Trump spoke with the Boston Globe in April 2016, Trump called Harth’s allegations “total nonsense.” This includes other allegations Harth made, including him rejecting black contestants at beauty pageants or knowing Lauren Petrella, a then-22-year-old model Harth claimed Trump slept with.
5. Harth Believes Her Business as a Makeup Artist Has Been Hurt by Her Association With Trump
Harth told the Guardian in July that she thinks her livelihood as a New York-based makeup artist has been hurt by Trump branding her a liar. In that interview, she said Trump did his best to get her to leave Houraney.
“Trump did everything in his power to get me to leave him. He constantly called me and said: ‘I love you, baby, I’m going to be the best lover you ever had. What are you doing with that loser, you need to be with me, you need to step it up to the big leagues,'” Harth recalled. “He was constantly working on me during that time and that took a toll on me. But I moved on. I’m a forgiving type person, OK? I’m a Christian, I moved on.”
Harth said that, at first, she thought about staying quiet during the election because she thought it was exciting to see someone she knew run for president. Indeed, when she first spoke to Law Newz in February, she said she might even vote for Trump to support “a friend.” However, it was the New York Times’ May story about Trump’s relationship with women that changed her mind. She even did another interview with Law Newz.
“He can say whatever he wants I know it’s true, I am a part of his past he wants to forget, his dirty little secret, and I am sure I am not the only one,” Harth told Law Newz in July.
After the release of a 2005 recording of Trump making sexually explicit comments about trying to have sex with Nancy O’Dell surfaced, Harth began retweeting comments about Trump. Lisa Bloom, who is Harth’s lawyer, has also been tweeting about the tape.
“Trump supporters: it’s been a long road and you have put up with a lot. But your candidate has revealed himself and it’s time to bail,” Bloom wrote. “We know that men talk trash about us behind closed doors. We are always hoping for that one good man who stands up against it. Be that guy.”
“I have a lot that I could say, and what I would like them to know,” Harth told WNYC when asked what she wants people to know about Trump. “Donald is a show person. That’s what I’m going to say. I’ve worked with him. What he says and what he does are two separate things, and he does not stick to his word. He will say anything to get what he wants. But he’s not going to come through.”
On October 14, Harth made a statement on her personal Facebook page, which she made public. In it, she writes:
People who think I spoke about Trump for the publicity are complete idiots. I never wanted to speak about it. Trump brought it up by answering press questions about me and called me a liar repeatedly. I had to defend myself. He’s hurt me and my livelihood from HIS recent public words to me. By having this all blown up again, it ripped open the old wound. I thought we were on cordial terms for 19 years, people!!! I initially supported him as shown in those emails. I had forgiven Trump. It was 19 years ago since I dropped that complaint. I moved on and forgave him because I am a Christian and that’s what and who I am. He behaved appropriately after the case was over in 1997! I was told by his executive vice president, Rhona Graff, to send in writing my proposal to Trump about promoting my MADE MAN Grooming Products and being involved and doing his makeup for his press events. That’s why I wrote the emails. I was on his side UNTIL HE BACK STABBED ME! So to all the people who don’t believe me: I don’t care what you think. You are nothing to me and you must be a complete low life not to understand. Read the WHOLE STORY. I was outed by Lawnewz in February online for all the world to see. My 1997 complaint is online. It was a complete violation of my privacy and caused me much distress and embarrassment. I didn’t do anything wrong. TRUMP DID this to himself! He should have shut up.