Writer E. Jean Carroll made a claim of sexual assault against Trump. Here's what we know

William Cummings

WASHINGTON – Author and advice columnist E. Jean Carroll came forward with an allegation last week that she was the victim of a decades-old sexual assault by President Donald Trump, joining more than a dozen women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct over the years. 

Carroll's accusation, which Trump has denied, is the first such allegation leveled against him since he took office, although many of them surfaced during the 2016 campaign. But Trump went on to victory despite those allegations and despite a 2005 recording that surfaced a month before the election of him bragging about how fame had allowed him to grab and kiss women. 

Carroll describes the alleged assault by Trump in her new book, "What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal," which is slated for release next week. She has also given detailed accounts of what she said occurred in television interviews since her allegation came to light on Friday.

Trump has denied ever knowing Carroll and said she was making the claim against him to boost book sales. On Monday, he said in an interview that "she's not my type." 

Here is a look at what we know so far: 

Timeline: All the misconduct allegations against President Trump

E. Jean Carroll accuses Trump of rape: Why are we so reluctant to talk about it?

Who is E. Jean Carroll? 

Carroll, 75, has been the author of the "Ask E. Jean" advice column for Elle magazine since 1993. "Incredibly it's the longest, currently-running advice column in American publishing," Carroll says on her profile page for Elle's website. 

In her latest column, Carroll addresses the concerns of "Sad Girl," a woman who fears the musician she is enamored of smokes too much marijuana. 

"Miss Sad, you charming half-wit: Oh, please. Some of the happiest, richest, cleverest people I know start the day by toking up. Leave the chap alone!" she writes in response. 

Carroll's column was picked up as a television show in the mid-1990s by NBC's America Talking Network, which later became MSNBC. She also was a writer for "Saturday Night Live" from 1986 to 1987. 

As a columnist who contributed to Playboy, Esquire and Outside magazines, Carroll was known for her brash style, once asking musician Lyle Lovett about his penis size during an interview. 

She has written four books in addition to "What Do We Need Men For?," including, "Hunter: The Strange and Savage Life of Hunter S. Thompson." 

'She's not my type': Trump again denies E. Jean Carroll's sexual misconduct allegation

What does she allege Trump did? 

In an excerpt of her book published by New York magazine's The Cut, Carroll writes that she ran into Trump at the Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan in 1995 or 1996. 

Carroll said that Trump asked her to help him buy a present for a woman and eventually coaxed her into trying on some lingerie. Once in the dressing room, she said he pushed her up against the wall, hitting her head and forcibly kissing her. She said he then pulled down her tights and undid his pants, "forcing his fingers around my private area, thrusts his penis halfway – or completely, I’m not certain – inside me." 

The accusers: These are the women who have accused Donald Trump of sexual assault or unwanted advances

She said she was eventually able to run out of the dressing room and that the incident lasted about three minutes. 

"It was a fight," Carroll said Monday on CNN. "I want women to know that I did not stand there. I did not freeze." 

"It was against my will. 100%" 

Is there any evidence to support Carroll's allegations? 

Carroll did not report the incident to the police. She also said that the store said it would no longer have any security footage that might have been captured that day and that she doesn't believe any salesperson saw them in the lingerie department. 

But she said she did tell two of her friends, both journalists, about the incident. According to New York magazine, both of her friends, who were not named in the article, confirmed hearing Carroll's account of the incident. 

How did Trump respond? 

After Carroll's account was published Friday, Trump issued a statement saying, "I've never met this person in my life. She is trying to sell a new book – that should indicate her motivation. It should be sold in the fiction section." 

"Shame on those who make up false stories of assault to try to get publicity for themselves," he added, comparing Carroll to Julie Swetnick, who later backtracked on some of her allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation process. 

Carroll's accusation: Before the White House, Trump faced an array of sexual misconduct accusations. As president, he faces another"False accusations diminish the severity of real assault," he said. "It is a disgrace and people should pay dearly for such false accusations.

On Saturday, as Trump left the White House for Camp David, a reporter pointed out that New York magazine included a picture of him meeting Carroll in 1987. 

"I have no idea who this woman is," Trump said. "This is a woman who has also accused other men of things, as you know." 

Trump again denied the allegation on Monday, telling The Hill, “I’ll say it with great respect: Number one, she’s not my type."

"Number two, it never happened. It never happened, OK?” 

Why didn't Carroll come forward sooner? 

In the excerpt published in New York magazine, Carroll said "receiving death threats" and "being dragged through the mud" like the other "15 women who’ve come forward with credible stories about how the man grabbed, badgered, belittled, mauled, molested, and assaulted them only to see the man turn it around, deny, threaten, and attack them, never sounded like much fun."

"Also, I am a coward." 

How Carroll responded to Trump's denial

Carroll said that if the point of including the incident was to sell books, she would have played the alleged assault up more. But she argues he was just one of several examples of the "hideous men" she had encountered in her life. 

In the excerpt from her book, she also described several instances of sexual assault, from being molested as a 12-year-old girl scout to being groped by former CBS CEO Les Moonves, who denied the allegation. 

In response to Trump's statement that he never met her, Carroll said that was the same way Trump handled the other allegations against him. 

"It's the same. He denies it. He turns it around. He attacks and he threatens," she said on CNN on Monday. "And then everybody forgets it, and then the next woman comes along, and I am sick of it. I am sick of it. Think of how many women have come forward. Nothing happens." 

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Writer E. Jean Carroll made a claim of sexual assault against Trump. Here's what we know