A retired stockbroker told in court today how Donald Trump groped and tried to kiss her on an airplane in full view of another passenger.
Jessica Leeds, 81, said it felt like the former president had “a zillion hands” when he put his hands on her breasts in first grade in 1979.
Another passenger had “eyes like saucers” as he watched Trump put his hand up her skirt before she resisted him and walked away to another seat.
The testimony came in the second week of magazine writer E. Jean Carroll’s civil lawsuit against Trump, who she accuses of rape in a department store locker room in 1996.
Jessica Leeds, 81, told the court on Tuesday how Donald Trump groped her as she sat next to her in a first class seat on a plane in 1979
She said it felt like the former president had “countless hands” when he put his hands on her breasts and up her skirt
Leeds said she was working as a traveling saleswoman for a newsprint company in 1979 when she took the flight from Houston or Atlanta to New York.
Trump sat next to her in the window seat and introduced himself and they shook hands. Leeds had no idea who he was as she was living outside New York at the time.
They ate their meal and talked a bit and then “Suddenly Trump decided to kiss and grope me,” Leeds told the jury.
Nothing in their conversation suggested she wanted anything sexual, the court heard.
Leeds said: ‘It was like a struggle. His hands – he tried to kiss me and tried to pull me to him.
He grabbed my chest. It was like he had 40 billion hands. It was a struggle between the two of us.
“When he started to put his hand up my skirt, I got a jolt of strength and managed to wriggle out of the chair.”
She went back to her seat on the bus before she was unexpectedly upgraded to first class.
Leeds told the jury she was not shouting but said the ‘people behind us must have thought something was up because the chair was wobbling’.
She said, “The guy sitting across the aisle, his eyes were like saucers. I remember thinking where with the flight attendants? Why isn’t anyone coming?
“Then I realized that no one would help me and I would have to do it myself.”
Leeds said that although the attack only lasted a few seconds, it “felt like an eternity” and came “out of nowhere”.
After the flight landed, she stayed on board until everyone had left, not wanting to risk running into Trump in the terminal.
She was silent about it for decades, because at the time “men could get away with a lot” at work and Leeds felt this was going in that direction.
But when Trump was running for president, she wrote a letter to the New York Times, which included a story about her.
She said Trump “wasn’t the kind of person I wanted as president.”
Leeds said she was ‘furious’ after watching a presidential debate in which Trump denied harassing women
She told the jury, “He lied.”
Asked how she knew, she said, “The experience I had with him.”
According to Leeds, Trump addressed her claims at a rally where he said something along the lines of “he would never pass her” because she was so old.
Leeds said she kept quiet about it for decades because “men could get away with a lot” at work in those days and Leeds felt this was going in that direction
Earlier in the day, Trump prosecutor E. Jean Carroll continued to repeat “he pulled my tights down” during the mid-1990s phone call to Lisa Birnbach
Carroll, 79, claims Trump 76 jumped her circa 1996 in the dressing room of Manhattan’s Bergdorf Goodman department store
Lisa Birnbach said Carroll made her swear she would ‘never talk about this again’ and she kept quiet until 2019 when Carroll went public and Trump was president
Leeds, whose grandmother was a suffragette, laughed when the court played a video of Trump saying at a rally that she would “not be my first choice.”
She said it showed he “couldn’t imagine making a pass at a 78-year-old woman,” which was her age at the time.
Leeds said she was 37 at the time of the attack on the plane.
When asked why she thought Trump did it, she said it was because he was “bored.”
There was an audible gasp in the courtroom when Leeds told the jury she saw Trump two years after the incident when he called her a “c***.”
She said she was working for the Humane Society of New York at their Saks Fifth Avenue gala when Trump and his heavily pregnant wife Ivana came to her desk and asked for their table number.
She clearly remembered him and thought about saying something, but kept her mouth shut.
Leeds said: ‘When he took the (table) chip from my hands, he looked at me and said: I remember you, you’re that bastard from the plane.’
Leeds said it felt like a bucket of water had been thrown over me.
Earlier in the day, Trump accuser E. Jean Carroll continued to repeat “he pulled down my tights” during the phone call to Lisa Birnbach in the mid-1990s.
Birnbach said Carroll made her swear she would “never talk about this again” and she kept quiet until 2019 when Carroll went public and Trump was president.
Carroll, 79, claims Trump 76 jumped her circa 1996 in the dressing room of the Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan.
She is seeking at least $75,000 in damages for battery and libel after he tried to “destroy” her on social media by calling her a liar.
Trump denies the claims and has said Carroll made the accusation to boost sales of her memoir, where she first publicly accused him.
The trial, now in its second week, heard that Birnbach was a “good, good, good friend” of Carroll’s and had known her for more than 20 years.
Birnbach, a journalist, said the attack must have occurred in the early months of 1996 when she had just returned from Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida estate, and wrote about it for New York magazine in a piece that was published in February of that year.
She was home with her kids when Carroll called and said, “You’re not going to believe what happened to me.”
The trial, now entering its second week, was attended by supporters of Carroll
Birnbach said Carroll was “breathless, hyperventilating, emotional.” “Her voice did all sorts of things,” said Birnbach.
Carroll told Birnbach how she met Trump outside Bergdorf Goodman and went to the lingerie department to help him find a gift for a girl.
Birnbach told the court she thought Carroll’s decision to go with him was a little “crazy,” but that she “didn’t think he (Trump) was dangerous because I just spent a few days with him,” referring to her trip to Florida for the article.
Carroll told her that after some “funny banter,” Trump “banged her against the wall” in the locker room, then did it again.
Birnbach said Carroll told him the former president held her with one arm and shoulder and pulled down her tights with the other.
‘E. Jean said a few times, “He pulled down my tights,” almost as if she couldn’t believe it. She was still processing, it had just happened,” Birnbach said.
Then, Carroll described how Trump “intruded into her.”
Birnbach said she fed her young children in her kitchen and “ducked” out of the room to tell Carroll, “He raped you, you have to go to the police.”
Carroll replied, “No, no, no, I don’t want to go to the police.”
According to Birnbach, they “fought” and Carroll’s description of the attack was like a “physical fight.”
“She said, promise me you’ll never talk about this again and promise me you won’t tell anyone. I promised her both things,’ Birnbach said.
Bergdorf Goodman (above) is just a block from Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue
Donald Trump in 1987 with his first wife, Ivana, rape prosecutor E. Jean Carroll and Carroll’s then-husband
After that, Birnbach “buried” the story for decades until 2019 when Carroll made her memoir public and she agreed to be named as the person Carroll called right after it happened.
When she did, she was subjected to a deluge of anti-Semitic messages via email and social media, she told the court.
Birnbach said Carroll didn’t speak out sooner because she’s “not a victim” and “wants nobody’s pity.”
She said, “She’s someone who instead of wallowing, puts on lipstick, dusts herself off, and moves on.” That’s how she got through her life.”
When asked why she was there, Birnbach said, “I’m here because my girlfriend, who is a good person, told me something terrible happened and as a result she lost her job and her life became very, very difficult.” I’m here because I’m her friend and I want the world to know because she spoke the truth.”
Birnbach told the jury that she was a registered Democrat who voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election and that she called Trump a “narcissistic sociopath” in a podcast she hosted.
She also called him “Vladimir Putin’s agent” and an “infection like herpes that you can’t get rid of.”
Trump is not expected to testify and is currently touring Scotland, opening a new golf course with a later stop in Ireland.
The jury is expected to see a video statement he gave for the case that his own lawyers describe as “snarly.”