Two women who magazine advice columnist E. Jean Carroll spoke to after an alleged sexual assault by Donald Trump are speaking publicly for the first time.
Carol Martin and Lisa Birnbach told The New York Times that they both received a phone call from Carroll back in the mid 1990s, when Carroll alleged Trump attacked her at a New York luxury department store. Carroll has described the conversations with her friends publicly, including to CNN, but their names were not revealed until now. Martin and Birnbach, along with Carroll, spoke to the Times on Wednesday and parts of their interview aired Thursday on the podcast, “The Daily.”
Carroll detailed the allegations against Trump in her forthcoming book, “What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal,” excerpts of which were published Friday in New York Magazine. Carroll does not identify Trump by name in her first-person account of the attack in the book, but she uses identifying characteristics and mentions Trump by name in the epilogue. Trump has denied the allegation.
The three women ran in the same New York media circle during the 90’s. Martin was a longtime TV news anchor, and Birnbach was a writer with a best selling book.
Martin and Birnbach told the Times about their two different reactions when Carroll phoned them years ago.
Birnbach told the Times Carroll called her minutes after leaving the department store and that she tried to convince Carroll to report her allegation to the police.
“It was horrible. We fought. And I said, ‘Let’s go to the police,’” Birnbach said.
Birnbach said, though, that Carroll refused.
“‘No, it’s 15 minutes of my life, it’s over. Don’t ever tell anybody. I just had to tell you,’” Birnbach recalled Carroll telling her.
Martin, on the other hand, advised Carroll to keep quiet about her allegation because she believed Trump was powerful and had numerous lawyers.
“I said, ‘Don’t tell anybody.’ I wouldn’t tell anybody this,” Martin recalled to the Times.
On Friday, Trump denied the allegation in a statement and accused Carroll of sharing her account to raise book sales.
He also claimed he “never met this person” even though a New York Magazine article published the same day included a 1980s-era photo of Trump and Carroll chatting in a group.
“Standing with my coat on in a line. Give me a break, with my back to the camera. I have no idea who she is,” Trump told reporters on Saturday.