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Melania Trump demands retraction from People

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 14/10/2016 Steph Solis
Melania Trump listens as her husband delivers remarks at Trump National Golf Club Westchester in New York in June 2016. © Kena Betancur, AFP/Getty Images Melania Trump listens as her husband delivers remarks at Trump National Golf Club Westchester in New York in June 2016.

Melania Trump is demanding a retraction and apology from People magazine for publishing a former writer's account alleging Donald Trump assaulted her while she was on assignment.

The model and GOP presidential nominee's wife threatened to sue in a letter addressed to Natasha Stoynoff, who wrote the piece, and People editorial director Jess Cagle, calling parts of the account "false and completely fictionalized."

The letter does not mention the allegation at the center of the story, where Stoynoff wrote that Trump shoved her against a wall and tried to kiss her during a break in an interview for an article about his and Melania Trump's first anniversary. 

On behalf of Melania Trump, lawyer Charles Harder disputed that she and Stoynoff ran into each other, citing the following lines from the People story:

That winter, I actually bumped into Melania on Fifth Avenue, in front of Trump Tower as she walked into the building, carrying baby Barron.

“Natasha, why don’t we see you anymore?” she asked, giving me a hug.

I was quiet and smiled, telling her I’d missed her, and I squeezed little Barron’s foot. I couldn’t discern what she knew. Did she really not guess why I hadn’t been around?

"The two are not friends and were never friends or even friendly," the letter stated.

People spokesperson Marnia Perez confirmed the publication received the letter and said, "we stand by our story."

Earlier in the day, Cagle said in a statement, "we are grateful to Natasha Stoynoff for telling her story. Ms. Stoynoff is a remarkable, ethical, honest and patriotic woman, and she has shared her story of being physically attacked by Donald Trump in 2005 because she felt it was her duty to make the public aware."

Stoynoff's account came as several other women came forward with sexual assault allegations against the presidential candidate, including former beauty pageant contestants. Trump denied these allegations, saying Stoynoff's account "didn't happen."


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