Two friends come forward to confirm Trump rape allegations by author E Jean Carroll
Author E. Jean Carroll on the NBC Nightly News (screengrab)

Two women confirmed that author and columnist E. Jean Carroll told them that Donald Trump sexually assaulted her shortly after the attack more than 20 years ago.

The Elle advice columnist alleges in her new memoir that Trump raped her during a chance encounter at the Bergdorf Goodman luxury department store in 1995 or 1996, and two friends have come forward to corroborate her account, reported the New York Times.

Carol Martin, a former news anchor on WCBS-TV in New York, and Lisa Birnbach, a writer best known for The Official Preppy Handbook, confirmed to the newspaper that Carroll told them Trump had assaulted her in a dressing room at the Manhattan department store.

Martin said she advised Carroll not to come forward with her claims because Trump, then a celebrity real estate developer, was too powerful.

Birnbach said she urged her friend to tell the police.

Carroll said she ultimately blamed herself for the assault and decided not to go public with her allegations until the #MeToo movement took off.