The woman known as Jane Doe pulled out of a Los Angeles press conference where she was expected to reveal her identity, citing death threats
A woman who is suing Donald Trump for allegedly raping her as a child abandoned a plan to speak publicly on Wednesday, citing death threats.
The woman, known by the pseudonym Jane Doe, hid from media who were invited to her lawyers Los Angeles office for a press conference in which she was expected to reveal her identity.
Instead her attorney, Lisa Bloom, cancelled the event in a brief, apologetic statement to a phalanx of cameras.
Jane Doe has received numerous threats today as have all the Trump accusers that I have represented. She has decided she is too afraid to show her face. She has been here all day, ready to do it, but unfortunately she is in terrible fear. Were going to have to reschedule. I apologize to all of you who came. I have nothing further.
Hours earlier Bloom, a prominent attorney, stoked such anticipation with the announced press conference that her firms website crashed. With just six days to the election and polls showing a tightening race the stakes could scarcely be higher.
The anticlimax was the latest twist to the explosive and so far unsubstantiated claim that the Republican presidential nominee raped Doe in 1994 when she was 13 years old.
Doe has alleged the casino owner assaulted her on four occasions at parties in New York hosted by the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, a friend of Trump whom she also accused of rape. A civil lawsuit is slated for an an initial status conference in a New York district court on 16 December.
Trump has vehemently denied the accusations, calling them fabrications designed to smear him in the run-up to the 8 November election.
Doe filed a lawsuit in April which was dismissed for technical filing errors. She filed fresh lawsuits in June in New York and California.
The allegations have received less media attention than other claims of sexual assaults by Trump partly because they appeared to have been orchestrated by an eccentric anti-Trump campaigner with a record of making outlandish claims about celebrities.
A Guardian investigation this summer found that Norm Lubow, a former producer on the Jerry Springer TV show, has been associated in the past with a range of disputed claims involving the likes of OJ Simpson and Kurt Cobain.
The federal lawsuit alleged Trump sexually assaulted Doe in 1994 at Epsteins Manhattan home and at other parties Epstein hosted on the Upper East Side. Epstein, an associate of the UKs Prince Andrew, and who was convicted of underage sex crimes in Florida in 2008, has denied the allegations.
Thomas Meagher, a patent and intellectual property attorney, filed the lawsuit for Doe even though he said he had never been involved in a case of this kind before.
With Bloom coming on board Doe appeared until the press conference fiasco to have acquired considerable additional legal and media firepower.
The founder and owner of The Bloom Firm, which handles family, civil and criminal cases in California and New York, has in the past sued the Boy Scouts of America and the Los Angeles police department. Bloom hosts a Court TV talk show and is a legal analyst for NBC News.
She is the daughter of Gloria Allred, another prominent attorney who is representing three different women who accuse Trump of inappropriate sexual contact, plus others who accuse Bill Cosby of wrongdoing.
In a Huffington Post article in June, apparently before she took on Does case, Bloom said her allegations appeared credible given Trumps longstanding and well documented contempt for women and abuse allegations made by his former wife Ivanka and Jill Harth, who detailed her accusations to the Guardian in July.
Judge Ronnie Abrams has ordered counsel for Trump and Epstein to appear in his New York district court along with Does legal team for an initial status conference on 16 December. That raises the extraordinary prospect, were Trump to win the election, of counsel for a US president-elect being called into federal court in proceedings relating to allegations of rape of an underage girl.
The court order gives no details of the legal complaint raised by Jane Doe. It instructs all parties in the case to set out in advance the nature of the allegations and the principal defenses, as well as any previous motions and discovery as well as the estimated length of trial.
A Guardian investigation in July found that a publicist calling himself Al Taylor attempted to sell a videotape of Doe relating her allegations for $1m. It linked Taylor through a variety of means including shared email addresses and phone numbers to Lubow, formerly of Springers daytime talk show.
Lubow was connected to a contentious claim, raised in the 1998 documentary movie Kurt and Courtney, that Courtney Love offered a fellow musician $50,000 to murder her husband, Kurt Cobain of Nirvana. Love denied the charge.
According to the New York Post, Lubow was also behind a tabloid newspaper story that OJ Simpson bought illicit drugs on the day his estranged wife Nicole Brown was killed.
When the Guardian quizzed Al Taylor about his true identity, the publicist replied: Just be warned, well sue you if we dont like what you write. Well sue your ass, own your ass and own your newspapers ass as well, punk.