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Former 'Apprentice' contestant accuses Trump of sexual assault

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

Joining the increasing list of women accusing Donald Trump of inappropriate behaviour, a former contestant of a reality TV show has alleged that the Republican presidential nominee had made unwanted sexual advances at her at a bungalow.

At a conference in yesterday, Summer Zervos alleged that the incident took place after she was eliminated from "The Apprentice" show and approached Trump for work at one of his golf courses.

"In 2007 I was going to New York for a social obligation. I contacted Trump's office to see if he was available for lunch. I was informed that he could not have lunch, but that he would like to meet me in his office. When I arrived he kissed me on the lips. I was surprised, but felt that perhaps it was just a form of greeting. We sat and spoke. He was extremely complimentary," she alleged.

Accompanied by her lawyer Gloria Allred, Zervos said during the meeting, she requested for a job, to which Trump agreed.

"He said that he was impressed with how I handled myself on 'The Apprentice'. He said he was allowed to have me work for him. Trump said he would be coming to soon and he would contact," she told reporters.

"I felt as though I was reaching for my brass ring. I was very excited. I felt as though my dream of working for Trump might come true. As I was about to leave, he again kissed me on the lips. This made me feel nervous and embarrassed. This is not what I wanted or expected.

"He asked me for my phone number. I left hurriedly and called a friend who lived in New York because I was upset by the kiss. I also called my parents to let them know what had happened," she said.

Trump called Zervos when he came to and asked her to meet him at the Beverly Hills Hotel, besides enquiring where she would like to have dinner.

"When I arrived, his security guard greeted me at the hotel. He walked with me to greet Trump. I assumed we were going to a restaurant in the hotel. Instead, I was taken to a bungalow," she said.

"I was standing in the entryway. To my left was a bedroom and clothes on the bed. I did not see him, but he greeted me with hello in a singsong voice that sounded like hello. I thought the mistake had been made and Trump thought he was speaking to someone he was more familiar with. I walked further into the living room, away from the bedroom, and sat down," she said.

Zervos said Trump emerged 15 minutes later and started kissing her "open-mouthed" while pulling her towards him.

"I walked away and I sat down in a chair. He was on the left seat across from me and I made an attempt at conversation. He then asked me to sit next to him. I complied. He then grabbed my shoulder and began kissing me again very aggressively and placed his hand on my breast," she alleged.

"I pulled back and walked to another part of the room. He then walked up, grabbed my hand and walked me into the bedroom. He put me in an embrace and I tried to push him away," she alleged.

According to Zervos, during the conversation at the dinner

table later the same night, Trump told her that she should not make payments on mortgage of her home and hired her for the golf course at half the salary she was expecting.

"Even though Trump had sexually harassed me, I still wanted to get a job within the Trump organisation. I felt that since I had made it clear to him that I was not interested in having a sexual relationship with him, that if he gave me a job it would be based solely on merit and we would be able to work together," she said.

"During Trump's fight for the Republican nomination, I saw and heard Trump's non-stop on television and in the Customers at my restaurant asked about him as they knew I was a contestant on 'The Apprentice.' I always complemented and never said anything about what he had done at the Beverly Hills Hotel," she said.

Zervos said this, however, caused a "great deal of pain" and anguish for her and she felt the need to "confront" Trump and ask him to apologise for his behaviour.

"I also thought he might have been embarrassed by his behavior, and that this would provide him with the opportunity to clear the air. I had no idea about his behaviour with other women at the time," she said.

Trump, who has been facing a series of charges of sexual assault, has denied the allegations.

"I vaguely remember Zervos as one of the many contestants on 'The Apprentice' over the years. To be clear, I never met her at a hotel or greeted her inappropriately a decade ago," he said.

"That is not who I am as a person, and it is not how I've conducted my life. In fact, Zervos continued to contact me for help, emailing my office on April 14th of this year asking that I visit her restaurant in California," Trump said.

First Published: Sat, October 15 2016. 06:42 IST