Published: Wednesday, October 12, 2016 @ 9:28 PM
Updated: Thursday, October 13, 2016 @ 7:45 AM
By: Kelcie Willis - Cox Media Group National Content Desk
UPDATE 1:07 a.m. ET: Lawyers for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump have sent a letter to The New York Times demanding the retraction of an article in which two women accuse Trump of inappropriately touching them.
"Your article is reckless, defamatory and constitutes libel per se," says the letter, signed by Marc E. Kasowitz of Kasowitz, Benson, Torres and Friedman. "It is apparent from, among other things, the timing of the article, that it is nothing more than a politically-motivated effort to defeat Mr. Trump's candidacy. That is why you apparently performed an entirely inadequate investigation to test the veracity of these false and malicious allegations, including why these two individuals waited, in one case, 11 years, and, in another case, more than three decades, before deciding to come forward with these false and defamatory statements. Clearly, The New York Times is willing to provide a platform to anyone wishing to smear Mr. Trump's name and reputation prior to the election irrespective of whether the alleged statements have any basis in fact."
The letter goes on to demand that the Times "immediately cease any further publication of this article, remove it from your website and issue a full and immediate retraction and apology."
"Failure to do so will leave my client with no option but to pursue all available actions and remedies," the letter says.
ORIGINAL STORY: Since the leak of a 2005 video in which Republican candidate Donald Trump can be heard making vulgar comments about women with former Access Hollywood host Billy Bush, more accusations against Trump have emerged in reports from multiple outlets.
On October 8, The Washington Post obtained a video of Trump speaking with former Access Hollywood co-host Billy Bush ahead of an interview in which Trump made lewd comments about women, saying Trump apologized for his remarks, but the incident was also brought up during Sunday's second presidential debate.
When asked by moderator Anderson Cooper if he understood that what he said in the video -- about touching and kissing women without permission -- meant he was bragging about sexually assaulting women.
"No, I didn’t say that at all," Trump said. "I don’t think you understood what was said. This was locker-room talk. I’m not proud of it. I apologized to my family, I apologized to the American people."
The Palm Beach Post reported Oct. 12 that, according to Mindy McGillivray, 36, Trump groped her while she was helping a photographer at his Mar-a-Lago estate 13 years ago during a Ray Charles concert.
"All of a sudden I felt a grab, a little nudge. I think it’s (a) camera bag, that was my first instinct. I turn around and there’s Donald. He sort of looked away quickly. I quickly turned back, facing Ray Charles, and I’m stunned."
Hope Hicks, Trump's press secretary, told the Post that "there is no truth to this whatsoever."
"This allegation lacks any merit or veracity," she said.
Cassandra Searles, Miss Washington USA 2013 told Rolling Stone in an Oct. 12 report that Trump grabbed her buttocks and asked her to come to his hotel.
In June, Seales reportedly made a Facebook post in which she said Trump treated contestants "like cattle."
In an Oct. 12 report from The New York Times, two women, Jessica Leeds and Rachel Crooks, said that they were inappropriately touched by Trump. Leeds, 74, told the paper from her New York home that Trump put his hands up her skirt after meeting her on a plane in the early 1980s. "He was like an octopus. His hands were everywhere."
Crooks said she was a 22-year-old receptionist working for a firm in Trump Tower in Manhattan when she introduced herself to Trump. When they shook hands, Crooks said he would not let go, kissed her cheeks and then "kissed me directly on the mouth."
Trump's campaign launched issued a statement in response to the Times report:
"This entire article is fiction, and for the New York Times to launch a completely false, coordinated character assassination against Mr. Trump on a topic like this is dangerous. To reach back decades in an attempt to smear Mr. Trump trivializes sexual assault, and it sets a new low for where the media is willing to go in its efforts to determine this election.
"It is absurd to think that one of the most recognizable business leaders on the planet with a strong record of empowering women in his companies would do the things alleged in this story, and for this to only become public decades later in the final month of a campaign for president should say it all.
"Further, the Times story buries the pro-Clinton financial and social media activity on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, reinforcing that this truly is nothing more than a political attack. This is a sad day for the Times."
People magazine writer Natasha Stoynoff claimed in an Oct. 12 story that she was sexually assaulted by Trump while covering him and his wife, Melania, for a first wedding anniversary story in December 2005. She was covering the story as part of her Trump beat, in which she "reported on all things Donald" since she was assigned the beat in the early 2000s.
Stoynoff said that Melania Trump was pregnant at the time. While she stepped away to change clothes during a photoshoot at the couple's Mar-a-Lago home, Trump invited Stoynoff into a room in his mansion to show her around his home.
"We walked into that room alone, and Trump shut the door behind us," Stoynoff said. "I turned around, and within seconds, he was pushing me against the wall, and forcing his tongue down my throat."
According to Stoynoff, they were interrupted when a butler came in, but when he left, Trump continued to make advances.
"'You know we’re going to have an affair, don’t you?' he declared, in the same confident tone he uses when he says he’s going to make America great again," Stoynoff wrote. "'Have you ever been to Peter Luger’s for steaks? I’ll take you. We’re going to have an affair, I’m telling you.'"
Stoynoff went on to say that she asked to be taken off the Trump beat and has not interviewed Trump since.
Trump's spokeswoman refutes the account, telling People, "This never happened. There is no merit or veracity to this fabricated story."