Donald Trump would like voters to focus on the FBI’s continuing investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email server — but instead questions about his own legal troubles have been raised again.
Author Salman Rushdie reminded voters that Trump will stand trial later this month in a racketeering lawsuit and then again next month as part of a lawsuit filed by a woman who claims the Republican presidential nominee raped her when she was 13 years old.
“He is a sexual predator, hasn’t released his tax returns, and has used his foundation’s money to pay his legal fees,” Rushdie posted Sunday on his Facebook page. “He has abused the family of a war hero and … oh, but let’s talk about some emails Hillary didn’t send from someone else’s computer, that weren’t a crime anyway, because that’s how to choose a president. Come on, America. Focus.”
Those explosive allegations against Trump haven’t drawn as much attention as some other issues in this surreal presidential campaign, but Rushdie is correct.
Trump is, in fact, scheduled to face trials in the immediate weeks after Election Day in two separate lawsuits alleging criminal actions by the real estate developer and former reality TV star.
His campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, was forced to address the child rape allegations Monday morning on CNBC, but she waved those claims away as insignificant compared to Clinton’s emails.
A woman filed a federal lawsuit in June alleging that Trump raped her in 1994, when she was 13, and threatened to harm her and her family if she talked.
The lawsuit claims Trump tied the girl to a bed, raped her as she begged him to stop, and then struck her in the face with his open hand and bellowed that he could do whatever he wanted.
She claims Trump and billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, lured her and other girls to lavish parties with promises of modeling careers and cash.
A second woman supported her allegations against Trump, saying Epstein had hired her to recruit other young women for his parties, and a third woman later came forward as a witness.
Trump threw parties like that of his own in the 1990s, according to former friends who recall seeing aspiring models as young using cocaine and drinking alcohol with rich, older men.
Epstein, a financier who was also friends with Bill and Hillary Clinton, was convicted in 2008 of soliciting an underage girl for prostitution and served 13 months of an 18-year prison term.
Trump, who has denied the lawsuit’s claims, is scheduled to appear Dec. 16 for a status conference in the U.S. District Court of New York.
The woman filed a suit against Trump without an attorney earlier this year in California, but that case was dismissed on a technicality.
Trump’s ex-wife accused him in a sworn deposition of raping her, although she later walked back those claims, and he can be heard boasting on a 2005 hot mic recording that he can get away with grabbing women by the genitals without consent because he is rich and famous.
At least 14 women have come forward since that recording was revealed to accuse Trump of sexually assaulting them over a period of decades.
Another lawsuit scheduled to begin a couple of weeks after Election Day accuses Trump of enriching himself by defrauding his admirers through Trump University.
Former students alleged they were duped into paying tens of thousands of dollars under the false promise that they would learn Trump’s real estate strategies, but the candidate and his attorneys insist those students got their money’s worth.
Trump has attacked U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is presiding over the case, as an impartial “hater” because of his “Mexican” heritage.
Trump promised to personally pick the faculty at Trump University — which was technically not an authorized university — but admitted under oath that he had no idea who the instructors were.
Students say they were pressured to buy grossly overpriced real estate seminars, CDs and DVDs, and the university — which New York later forced to change its name to Entrepreneur Initiative because it did not issue degrees — had no classes, teachers or buildings, reported Alternet.
Trump has unsuccessfully tried to get the case dismissed, saying most students were happy with their instruction, but former managers have testified in the case that Trump University was a “lie” and a “scheme.”