McGllivray Accused Trump of Groping Her In Public
In October of 2016, Mindy McGillivray was one of several women to come forward with personal stories of being groped in public by Donald Trump. McGllivray claimed she was motivated to come forward by Trump's false denial that he had ever groped an unconsenting woman during a televised presidential debate. McGillivray recounted that Trump had groped her at a Ray Charles concert held in Mar-a-Lago on January 24, 2003. According to McGllivray, Trump had grabbed her from behind "pretty close to the center of my butt." McGillivray told photographer Ken Davidoff that she had been groped immediately after it happened. Davidoff confirmed McGillivray's account.
Trump's campaign denied McGillivray's accusations through Hope Hicks, an official spokesperson. Ken Davidoff's brother sought to discredit McGillivray's account, claiming that his brother was lying and didn't actually work for the family photography studio. Ken Davidoff noted that his brother was worried about reprisals from the photography studio's Palm Beach clientele, many of whom were wealthy Trump supporters. A few days after coming forward, McGillivray announced that she was fleeing the country for her own safety, citing strange cars observing her home.
McGillivray Came Forward To Recount Being Groped by Trump After Trump Denied Ever Groping Women
- Mindy McGillivray came forward to recount a time she had been unwillingly groped by Trump after Trump denied during a Presidential debate that he had ever groped women in the manner he was filmed boasting of. “For more than 10 years, it was something Mindy McGillivray said she shared only with a close circle of family and friends. That changed Sunday night. Donald Trump was asked during the presidential debate about when he bragged that he kissed women without their consent and grabbed their genitals -- remarks captured on audio that surfaced this past week. Trump apologized for the remarks and dismissed them as ‘locker room talk.’ But the debate moderator, CNN's Anderson Cooper, asked Trump to clarify: ‘Have you ever done those things?’ ‘No, I have not,’ Trump replied. Watching at home in Palm Springs, Fla., McGillivray said she rose from her couch and yelled at the TV screen: ‘You liar!’” (Palm Beach Post, October 13, 2016)
- McGillivray reported that she had been groped by Trump at a Ray Charles concert at Mar-a-Lago in 2003, claiming he grabbed her from behind “pretty close to the center of my butt.” “McGillivray, 36, said she was groped by Trump at Mar-a-Lago 13 years ago. She said she never reported it to authorities. […]After the show, Davidoff and McGillivray were standing in a pavilion behind the main house in the middle of a group of people. To their left was Regis Philbin and his wife, Joy, according to Davidoff. To McGillivray's immediate right was Trump and his fiancée, Melania. ‘Ray already performed. He's ready to leave. He's saying his goodbyes to everyone,’ McGillivray recalled. ‘All of a sudden I felt a grab, a little nudge. I think it's Ken's camera bag, that was my first instinct. I turn around and there's Donald. He sort of looked away quickly. I quickly turned back, facing Ray Charles, and I'm stunned.’ […] Asked about the possibility that what she felt was Trump or someone accidentally bumping into her, McGillivray said no. ‘This was a pretty good nudge. More of a grab,’ she said. ‘It was pretty close to the center of my butt. I was startled. I jumped.’” (Palm Beach Post, October 13, 2016)
- Immediately after Trump groped her, McGillivray complained to photographer Ken Davidoff, who verified she had told him about the groping at the time and that he had never disbelieved her. “Her companion that day, photographer Ken Davidoff, vividly remembers when McGillivray pulled him aside moments after the alleged incident and told him, ‘Donald just grabbed my ass!’ […] Davidoff said he did not witness the alleged groping but he said he has never had any reason to doubt McGillivray.” (Palm Beach Post, October 13, 2016)
- McGillivray also recounted an earlier encounter with Trump at Mar-a-Lago in 2001 which was interrupted by the arrival of Melania. “She said she had had another encounter with Trump about two years earlier at Mar-a-Lago, when she helped Davidoff photograph a New Year's Eve party in 2001. She was walking out of a restroom ‘and Donald caught me right before I headed downstairs. He goes, 'It's a cool evening, isn't it?'’ she said, mocking his voice. ‘He had this debonair tone. He was totally flirting,’ she said. ‘And then here comes Melania to save the day. She sees me. She had this shawl on because it was cold on New Year's. And she whips the shawl behind her neck and storms off into the bathroom. I made a quick pivot and went straight downstairs and he went after her.’” (Palm Beach Post, October 13, 2016)
- McGillivray never encountered Trump again after the groping incident, but came forward publicly after Trump denied ever groping women during one of the 2016 Presidential debates. “After the alleged groping incident, McGillivray never encountered Trump again. She said the incident is something she and her family and the Davidoffs would bring up periodically through the years, sometimes joking about it. […] When Trump told Cooper during the debate Sunday that he never groped a woman, McGillivray said she started to consider sharing her story. With Davidoff's help, she reached out separately to The Palm Beach Post and to a Hillary Clinton campaign office.” (Palm Beach Post, October 13, 2016)
Trump's Campaign and Supporters Sought to Discredit McGillivray's Account
- McGillivray anticipated that her record would come under public attack and voluntarily disclosed past legal troubles that included charges of DUI and child neglect. “McGillivray gave an interview Thursday to CNN, for possible airing as early as Friday night, and she was planning to talk to other media outlets before leaving Florida. She said wants the public to know that she has had problems in her past, including two felony arrests, a burglary charge when she was 17 and driving under the influence in 2012. She said she still struggles with alcohol. She said she is married but estranged from a man who has open felony charges against him in Palm Beach County and is now living in Canada. Her husband, Daniel V. Edery, was charged in 2008 and 2009 with separate counts of organized scheme to defraud, according to records. McGillivray is not named in either charge. She said she was not aware of his alleged illegal activities. She said she is in contact with him because she receives alimony. She said there's a chance she could go to Canada and stay with him for a while. ‘I'm a real person. I'm not perfect,’ she said, sitting on a couch with her 15-year-old daughter, Corina. ‘I need to expose my ugly side. This isn't for money. This isn't for fame. This is to be honest with her.’” (Palm Beach Post, October 15, 2016)
- Trump’s campaign spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, denied McGillivray’s allegation. “‘There is no truth to this whatsoever,’ Hope Hicks, Trump's press secretary, said about McGillivray's allegation when reached by The Post on Wednesday night. ‘This allegation lacks any merit or veracity.’” (Palm Beach Post, October 13, 2016)
- McGillivray’s accusation against Trump led to an overwhelming load of media inquiries, prompting McGillivray to move into a hotel for privacy. “Mindy McGillivray left her Palm Springs home and moved to a hotel Thursday afternoon to escape a barrage of media inquiries after The Palm Beach Post reported her accusations about an encounter she said she had with Trump during an event at Mar-a-Lago in 2003. McGillivray, 36, in a brief interview with The Post on Thursday, said she stands by the story, in which she claims that Trump touched her on the buttocks while she was working with photographer Ken Davidoff at a Ray Charles concert in Palm Beach.” (Palm Beach Post, October 14, 2016)
- Ken Davidoff’s brother sought to undermine his credibility as a witness, claiming that Davidoff hadn’t “worked for Davidoff Studios sicne1985” while also conceding Ken “helped the studio periodically through the years.” “On Thursday, Davidoff's brother, Daryl, said he thinks McGillivray made up the story as a publicity stunt. And in an email to the Post, he also sought to distance the family's photography studio from the controversy by saying his brother Ken hasn't worked for Davidoff Studios since 1985. Daryl said he was also at Mar-a-Lago that night and ‘I do not believe it really happened.’ ‘Nobody saw it happen and she just wanted to be in the limelight,’ Daryl said in an email to the Post. He did say that Ken Davidoff has helped the studio periodically through the years on various assignments. Those events included shoots at Mar-a-Lago.” (Palm Beach Post, October 14, 2016)
- Ken Davidoff accused his brother of undermining McGillivray’s story in an effort to protect the family’s photography studio, which relied heavily on business from Trump supporters based in Palm Beach. “Ken Davidoff, who said he believes McGillivray, said his brother is trying to discount the story in an effort to salvage business from wealthy clients in Palm Beach. ‘He texted me and told me I've ruined the family name and the studio isn't going to get anymore work because all of their customers are Trump supporters,’ Ken Davidoff said. ‘He said he is going to claim that he thinks Mindy made the story up and is only looking for her six minutes of fame.’ Ken Davidoff said his brother is correct in thinking McGillivray's accusations might be bad for business at the family photo studio. ‘But I think there is a bigger issue than just them losing customers,’ Ken Davidoff said. ‘I feel sorry for them, but the bigger issue is whether or not people are going to stand up for their rights and say 'When Donald Trump is wrong he is wrong.'” (Palm Beach Post, October 14, 2016)
- McGillivray announced an intention to flee the country for her own safety, claiming that after she came forward to accuse Trump, strange cars were witnessed driving by her house. “Mindy McGillivray of Palm Springs said she is planning to leave the United States because she fears for her family's safety since she publicly accused Donald Trump earlier this week of groping her in 2003. ‘We feel the backlash of the Trump supporters. It scares us. It intimidates us. We are in fear of our lives,’ she said in an interview Friday with The Palm Beach Post. […]She said got a scare Thursday night when she returned to the Palm Springs house she shares with her daughter and stepdad to pick up clothes. ‘I look out the window and there are cars just driving around the house and looking, slowing down right at the house,’ she said.” (Palm Beach Post, October 15, 2016)