Sunday 19 January 2020

Yoga teacher in new Trump sex allegation

Karena Virginia wipes a tear during a news conference in New York, Thursday (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Karena Virginia wipes a tear during a news conference in New York, Thursday (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Nick Allen in Washington

A yoga teacher stepped into the maelstrom of the US presidential election last night, breaking down in tears as she became the 10th woman to accuse Donald Trump of inappropriate sexual behaviour.

Karena Virginia publicly accused the Republican nominee of touching her breast as she waited for a car outside the US Open tennis tournament in 1998, when she was 27 years old.

Her allegation came hours after Mr Trump had angrily denied ever behaving inappropriately towards women. During the third and final presidential debate in Las Vegas, he said "no one respects women more than me" and such accusations were "lies, lies, lies".

In an emotional statement at a press conference in New York, Ms Virginia, a married mother-of-two who describers herself as a life coach, said she felt "intimidated" by the billionaire.

She claimed that Mr Trump had remarked to some other men, "Hey look at this one, we haven't seen this one before, look at those legs," before asking her: "Do you know who I am?"

Ms Virginia, who was flanked by her lawyer, said tearfully: "He then walked up to me and reached out his right arm and grabbed my right arm.

"Then, his hand touched the right inside of my breast. I was in shock. I flinched. I felt powerless. Then my car pulled up and I got in. After I closed the door my shock turned to shame. I felt ashamed that I was wearing a short dress and high heels."

It came amid reports that Selina Scott, who presented an ITV documentary about Trump in 1995, was preparing to reveal details of what happened when the cameras stopped rolling.

Scott has previously described an encounter in which Trump invited her to look at his "seduction pad" on his private jet as "a creepy chat-up line".

Mr Trump did not immediately comment on the latest specific accusation by Ms Virginia. Instead, he was dealing with fallout from the debate in which he threatened not to accept the result if he loses the November 8 election.

Selina Scott wants to reveal what Trump is like off camera
Selina Scott wants to reveal what Trump is like off camera

He was accused of threatening to undermine a fundamental pillar of democracy.

Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian, said: "For a lot of people around the world it looks like a breakdown of the democratic process. He's a demagogue who wants to rally the masses."

Ms Clinton called her opponent's stance "horrifying". She said after the debate: "Our country has been around for 240 years, and we're a country based on laws, and we have hot, contested elections going back to the very beginning. But one of our hallmarks has always been that we accept the outcomes of our election."

But Mr Trump's comments were welcomed by some fervent followers. One told the 'Boston Globe': "I hope we can start a coup. We're going to have a revolution and take them out of office. There's going to be a lot of bloodshed."

Mr Trump was condemned by senior members of his own party. Others called him un-American and unpatriotic. Later, at a rally in Ohio, Mr Trump joked that he would accept the result, "but only if I win". He said he reserved the right to make a legal challenge if there was fraud.

The row overshadowed a much improved debate performance by Mr Trump, who began in a composed manner and talked about issues including appointments to the Supreme Court, abortion, gun ownership, the economy, and trade.

But the debate became more fractious, with Mr Trump calling Ms Clinton "such a nasty woman". She called him a "puppet" of Vladimir Putin. Mr Trump also offended Hispanics by blaming America's drug problems on "bad hombres" from Mexico.

With early voting already under way in 30 states, polls suggested Mr Trump could be heading to a heavy defeat. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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