UPDATE 11/4: On Friday, Politico reported that Jane Doe has dropped her lawsuit against Donald Trump. No explanation has been provided, and neither Jane Doe nor her lawyer has issued a statement.
The case of a woman suing Donald Trump for alleged sexual assault is beginning to receive more attention from voters.
A woman, who has not been publicly identified but who is being referred to as Jane Doe, alleges that Donald Trump sexually assaulted and raped her during four separate parties in 1994 when she was 13-years-old. She says that the parties were hosted by Jeffrey Epstein, a billionaire who has since been convicted of soliciting an underage girl and who is a registered sex offender.
Jane Doe’s story is not new; it came out earlier this year when she filed a civil suit against Trump. But interest in it spiked today when the woman’s attorney, Lisa Bloom, announced that Jane Doe would be revealing her identity and speaking at a press conference. When the press conference was scheduled to start, Bloom came out and told reporters that her client changed her mind, being too afraid to come forward because she has received threats.
This sudden reversal only raised more questions about this case, which has been ongoing for several months but which has been viewed skeptically due to the anonymity of virtually everyone involved and the fact that the case has been thrown out of court several times.
Here’s what you need to know about Jane Doe and her lawsuit against Donald Trump.
1. She Claims Trump Raped Her When She Was 13 Years Old
Jane Doe says that she was in New York in 1994 attempting to start a career as a model. She says she met a woman, who is going by the name Tiffany Doe in the lawsuit, who told her she could meet people in the industry at parties held by Jeffrey Epstein. Jane Doe says that on four occasions, during parties held by Epstein, Donald Trump sexually assaulted her. Jane Doe also says that she and several others were used as “sex slaves” at Epstein’s parties.
In the lawsuit, Jane Doe describes being tied down and raped by Donald Trump during her last encounter with him, saying that Trump subsequently threatened physical harm to her and her family if she ever came forward with the story. She also alleges that since the incident, Epstein himself has threatened her and has told her not to make the story public.
The lawsuit reads:
Defendant Trump initiated sexual contact with Plaintiff at four different parties. On the fourth and final sexual encounter with Defendant Trump, Defendant Trump tied Plaintiff to a bed, exposed himself to Plaintiff, and then proceeded to forcibly rape Plaintiff. During the course of this savage sexual attack, Plaintiff loudly pleaded with Defendant Trump to stop but with no effect. Defendant Trump responded to Plaintiff’s pleas by violently striking Plaintiff in the face with his open hand and screaming that he would do whatever he wanted.
The woman who allegedly introduced Jane Doe to Epstein’s parties, Tiffany Doe, gave a statement in the lawsuit and said that she personally witnessed four sexual encounters between Jane Doe and Donald Trump. Tiffany Doe also claims that at the time, she was working for Jeffrey Epstein, and it was her job to supervise sexual encounters between the underage girls Epstein hired and his guests.
The lawsuit also identifies a woman going by the pseudonym Joan Doe, who says she is a former classmate of Jane Doe and that Jane Doe told her about the incident during the summer of 1994.
Jane Doe’s lawsuit accuses Trump of rape, sexual misconduct, criminal sexual acts, sexual abuse, forcible touching, assault, battery, intentional and reckless infliction of emotional distress, duress and false imprisonment. She is seeking $75,000, in addition to legal fees.
The identities of the three women key to the case are not known at this time.
2. Donald Trump Knew Jeffrey Epstein at the Time
As cited in the lawsuit, it is true that Donald Trump and Jeffrey Epstein knew each other in the 1990s. In a 2002 New York magazine profile of Epstein, Trump said he has known him since 1987.
“I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy,” Trump said in the piece. “He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”
Bill Clinton has also had a relationship with Epstein, having traveled in his private jet at least 10 times over the years, according to Vice.
In 2008, Jeffrey Epstein was convicted of soliciting an underage girl for prostitution, according to The Daily Beast. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison, serving 13 months. He is now a registered sex offender and has been sued multiple times over the years by women who accuse him of rape and of holding them as sex slaves.
3. The Statute of Limitations for Rape in New York Has Expired
You might be wondering how Jane Doe can actually sue Trump, seeing as in the state of New York, the statute of limitations for rape in civil cases is five years. Jane Doe’s lawyers have argued that this statute should be waived because she was too afraid to file the suit during the five years following the incident because she had allegedly been threatened by both Donald Trump and Jeffrey Epstein.
The suit reads:
Any statute of limitations applicable to rape, sexual misconduct, criminal sexual acts, sexual abuse, forcible touching, assault, battery, intentional and reckless infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment of a minor, if any, is tolled owing to the continuous and active duress imposed upon Plaintiff by Defendants that effectively robbed Plaintiff of her free will to commence legal action until the present time.
The suit was originally filed in April of 2016, with Jane Doe using the pseudonym Katie Johnson, but it was thrown out for failing to make an adequate civil rights claim. It was then refiled in New York, but the case was again dismissed, this time because the address listed on the suit was of a foreclosed home. The lawsuit was refiled in June, and then refiled another time on September 30th.
A previous version of the lawsuit claimed that Trump gave Jane Doe money to get an abortion. This claim was later removed.
Some legal experts have questioned whether Jane Doe has enough evidence to make any sort of successful case.
“Other than an affidavit by another unidentified woman who claims to have witnessed the encounters, there appears to be no other evidence concerning what happened,” Rachel Stockman wrote on LawNewz back in June, although this was before the second anonymous witness became involved in the case. “This woman does not indicate that she ever went to police. In addition, no other evidence like DNA or taped conversations has surfaced.”
4. Trump Calls the Allegation ‘Categorically False’ and ‘Disgusting’
Donald Trump has denied every bit of Jane Doe’s allegation, saying that her story is categorically false and that it is being told for attention or for political purposes.
“The allegations are not only categorically false, but disgusting at the highest level and clearly framed to solicit media attention or, perhaps, are simply politically motivated,” Trump told Radar Online. “There is absolutely no merit to these allegations. Period.”
None of the other women who have accused Donald Trump of sexual assault over the past month are actually suing him, instead just telling their story to various media outlets. Jane Doe is the first who is taking Trump to court and seeking financial damages, originally asking for $100 million but now asking for $75,000 and legal fees. But unlike every other Trump accuser, Jane Doe is not going public with her real name at this time.
Trump’s attorney, Alan Garten, told LawNewz that the suit is nothing but a publicity stunt aimed at smearing the Republican presidential nominee. Garten also threatened to file for sanctions against Francis Meagher, Jane Doe’s original attorney.
“I don’t know of any attorney in this country worthy of being admitted by any bar who would sign legal papers attesting to such outrageous facts,” Garten said.
A pre-trial conference was originally scheduled for early September, but it was later pushed back until October and then until December 16, 2016, over a month after the presidential election.
Many journalists have questioned the veracity of Jane Doe’s claims, particularly due to her anonymity. A piece in Jezebel recounts how the allegations were floated to journalists by anti-Trump individuals for almost a year, but requests for further information and requests to interview Jane Doe were denied. Although you might wonder why a major presidential candidate being accused of raping a 13-year-old child isn’t bigger news, it’s all of these questions that have kept it from becoming a larger story.
5. Her Attorney is Lisa Bloom, the Daughter of Gloria Allred
At the press conference today, Jane Doe was scheduled to speak with her attorney, Lisa Bloom. Instead, Bloom came out alone, saying Jane Doe would not be speaking. Bloom is the daughter of Gloria Allred, famous civil rights lawyer who has represented several of the women who have accused Donald Trump of sexual assault.
Bloom is also a legal analyst for NBC News. In June, she wrote a piece for The Huffington Post arguing that the lawsuit filed by Jane Doe against Trump should not be ignored.
“We live in a world where wealthy, powerful men often use and abuse women and girls,” she wrote. “While these allegations may shock some, as a lawyer who represents women in sexual abuse cases every day, I can tell you that sadly, they are common, as is an accuser’s desire to remain anonymous, and her terror in coming forward. What do you call a nation that refuses to even look at sexual assault claims against a man seeking to lead the free world? Rape culture. We ignore the voices of women at our peril.”
Lisa Bloom is also currently representing Jill Harth, a makeup artist who has accused Donald Trump of attempted rape. When Donald Trump threatened to sue the women who have accused him of sexual assault, Bloom’s firm released a statement saying that if he does so, Harth will countersue for emotional hurt and lost income.
“My law firm will continue to proudly represent Jill and any other accusers sued by Donald Trump and crowd fund defense costs,” Bloom said in a statement. “…I reject Donald Trump’s efforts to to intimidate and silence women.”