WASHINGTON ― During the presidential campaign, more than a dozen women came forward to accuse Donald Trump of sexual misconduct. He called them liars and vowed to sue them once the election was over. But now that Trump has won, it doesn’t appear that he has followed through on his promise.
“We have had no communication with Trump’s attorneys,” said Gloria Allred, an attorney who represents four of Trump’s accusers. Her daughter, Lisa Bloom, a lawyer representing at least two additional accusers, told The Huffington Post she has also not heard any follow-up from Trump. There are no indications that he has sued any of his other accusers, either.
Many women came forward after video surfaced in October that recorded Trump boasting about groping women and getting away with it because he is famous. Some of the women’s stories were strikingly similar, describing Trump engaging in the very behavior he bragged about. Their accusations ranged from forcible kissing to assault.
Trump hit back hard, denying ever having met the women. “Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign,” he said at a Pennsylvania event in October. “Total fabrication. The events never happened. Never. All of these liars will be sued after the election is over.”
His attorney also sent a letter to The New York Times, demanding that it retract a story featuring allegations from two of the women. Failure to do so would leave Trump no option but to pursue “all available actions and remedies,” the letter warned.
The New York Times stood by its story. The paper has not received any further contact from Trump’s legal team about the issue, Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for the Times, told HuffPost on Monday.
Cathy Heller, who alleges that Trump held her in place and kissed her on the lips while she tried to get away about two decades ago, said she was never “seriously worried” that Trump might sue her.
“Family and many friends have known the story about how he grabbed me for years,” she said. “I imagine he now has more pressing issues than suing women he harassed.”
The Trump transition team did not respond to a request for comment.
If Trump were to sue the women or The New York Times, he would have to meet a very high legal bar. And even if he were able to prove liability, it’s unclear he’d be entitled to damages; since he had already bragged about grabbing women “by the pussy,” it would be hard for him to make the case that his reputation has been harmed.
Trump’s also unlikely to sue because he may expose himself to being asked to give testimony under oath. The discovery process could force him to reveal financial information or medical records ― two things Trump fought very hard not to disclose during his presidential campaign. In a libel lawsuit Trump filed against journalist Tim O’Brien in 2006, for example, O’Brien was able to view the federal tax returns that Trump has refused to release to the American public.
Trump might also have to provide additional footage from his time on “The Apprentice,” which MGM refused to release in the wake of the “grab them by the pussy” leak. Crew members have said that Trump made other vulgar statements, and leaked transcripts show him making derogatory comments about a country music singer’s appearance.
Bloom told HuffPost she does not expect any follow-up from Trump’s lawyers. If he sued her clients, she added, she would “depose him and all of his enablers, use his taped admission to sexual assault … against him, and subpoena the ‘Apprentice’ tapes and all other recordings and evidence that would be relevant.”
Allred warned Trump in October that the women’s lawyers will “welcome” the opportunity to question him under oath. “You may find that the questions may include all of the women with whom you have had sexual interaction,” she said.
“You can expect that many women who have not yet come forward publicly may decide to do so,” she added.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story mischaracterized the suit against Tim O’Brien as a defamation suit. Trump sued for libel.