|Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump|
PEOPLE reporter Natasha Stoynoff, who came forward last week with her own story about sexual assault by Donald Trump during an interview session, has gotten back-up from colleagues and friends who are putting their own names out there in support of her story.
Here’s just an excerpt of the PEOPLE story today:
Six colleagues and close friends who corroborate former PEOPLE writer Natasha Stoynoff’s account of being attacked by Donald Trump in 2005 are now coming forward. Among them is a friend who was with Stoynoff when she ran into Melania Trump later in N.Y.C.
The wife of the Republican nominee denies meeting Stoynoff after the attack, but Stoynoff’s friend Liza Herz remembers being there during the chance meeting.
“They chatted in a friendly way,” Herz, who met Stoynoff in college, says. “And what struck me most was that Melania was carrying a child and wearing heels.”
Marina Grasic, who has known Stoynoff for more than 25 years, says she got a call from her friend the day after the attack. Stoynoff detailed everything about the attack, from Trump pushing her against a wall to the business mogul showing up at her massage appointment the following day, she says.
According to Grasic, her longtime friend was embarrassed and even thought of Trump’s then-pregnant wife when deciding not to come forward about the encounter.
“Natasha was also struggling about not hurting pregnant Melania if the story came out,” Grasic says. “Beyond just the attack, she was horrified by the vulgar circumstances under which she was attacked and propositioned to have an affair. She was there in a professional capacity, writing an article about their happy marriage, and after the incident Trump acted like nothing happened.
Stoynoff’s former journalism professor, Paul McLaughlin, says that the writer called him in tears looking for advice the very night of the harrowing encounter. However, he cautioned her to remain quiet in fear of how Trump may retaliate.
“She wasn’t sure what she should do,” McLaughlin recalls. “I advised her not to say anything, because I believed Trump would deny it and try to destroy her.”
Testimonials from four more colleagues at the link.