AP Photo/Seth Wenig, Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
- Jessica Leeds, 81, said Trump molested her on a flight with what seemed like “40 zillion hands.”
- She said the incident happened in the late 1970s, when she was invited to sit beside Trump in first class.
- Leeds joined the other witnesses supporting columnist E. Jean Carroll’s lawsuit against Trump.
A woman accused former President Donald Trump in court of groping her on an airplane with what she said felt like “40 zillion hands.”
Jessica Leeds, 81, from North Carolina, testified on Tuesday to support a defamation lawsuit against Trump filed by the writer, E. Jean Carroll.
Leeds told the court that the incident happened in the late 1970s when she was in her 30s and working in sales, per the Associated Press.
Leeds testified that a flight attendant invited her to sit in a first-class seat next to Trump. They shared a meal and a conversation before Trump suddenly “decided to kiss” and “grope” her, Leeds said, per the AP.
“There was no conversation. It was like out of the blue. It was like a tussle,” Leeds said in her testimony, per the AP. “He was trying to kiss me, trying to pull me towards him. He was grabbing my breasts. It was like he had 40 zillion hands. It was like a tussling match between the two of us.”
Leeds accused Trump of trying to put his hand up her skirt, after which she “managed to wriggle out” and went back to her seat.
In an interview in 2016 with The New York Times, Leeds said that on the flight from the Midwest to New York City, Trump was like an “octopus” and that “his hands were everywhere.”
Trump denied Leeds’ accusation during a rally in October 2016.
“Believe me, she would not be my first choice, that I can tell you,” Trump said of Leeds to his rally audience in North Carolina.
Leeds, a retired stockbroker, is one of the 26 women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct since the 1970s, including his ex-wife Ivana Trump. Leeds spoke in court on Tuesday to support Carroll’s lawsuit against Trump in Manhattan.
Carroll alleges that Trump raped her in a dressing room at the Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan in the mid-1990s.
Trump, meanwhile, said in 2019 that Carroll was not his “type” and accused her of making up the sexual assault claim to sell her memoir. Carroll sued Trump in 2019 — and again in 2022 — for his statements.
The Carroll defamation trial comes a month after Trump was arrested and charged in New York. On April 4, in a Manhattan courtroom, Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 low-level felony charges of falsifying business records.
The charges were filed against him by the Manhattan district attorney’s office in connection with a lengthy investigation into an election-eve hush money payment made to the porn star, Stormy Daniels.
Representatives of Trump and lawyers for Carroll did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment sent outside regular business hours.