A woman alleging that Donald Trump raped her at 13 at a sex party hosted by notorious celebrity pedophile Jeffrey Epstein was supposed to speak publicly for the first time today, but didn’t appear. The woman was due to appear at a press conference in Los Angeles with celebrity attorney and TV star Lisa Bloom. Instead, Bloom came out alone and said the woman was too afraid to speak.
“I have bad news for you,” Bloom told a room full of reporters, their cameras at the ready. She said that the woman, who has gone by the pseudonyms Katie Johnson and Jane Doe, had received “numerous threats.”
“She is living in fear,” Bloom added. “She has decided that she is too afraid to show her face. She’s been here all day ready to do it but unfortunately she’s in terrible fear.” Bloom indicated the press conference would be rescheduled.
Lisa Bloom is the daughter of famed civil rights attorney Gloria Allred, who has also recently held press conferences with two women accusing Trump of sexual abuse. The allegations brought by the woman have a more complicated backstory. Going by the pseudonyms Katie Johnson and Jane Doe, she has sued Trump and Epstein twice: a California civil rights suit was dismissed last year for failure to properly state a claim, while a New York lawsuit is ongoing, with the next hearing set for December.
In June, Jezebel detailed the bizarre machinations of a group of men trying to get the press to cover the lawsuit. One was Steve Baer, a conservative mega-donor and hardcore “Never Trump” Republican who’s famous for sending voluminous amounts of email haranguing famous conservative politicians and media personalities about his pet issues.
The other person pushing the Doe lawsuit to the media was a man going by the name “Al Taylor.” He identified himself to Jezebel as a former reality-TV producer, and at one point tried to sell Jezebel’s then-parent company Gawker Media material related to the suit. Gawker Media never purchased anything from him, or published any stories related to the information that it received from him. The Guardian reported that “Taylor” appears to actually be a former Jerry Spring producer named Norm Lubow, who has been accused been of (and denied) making wild claims about celebrities, sometimes under assumed names.
Taylor and Baer soon had a bitter, very public falling out about how the story should be handled, which was covered by the Daily Beast. Much of that arguing took place with everyone on Baer’s email list cc’ed, meaning that dozens of powerful conservatives and members of the media got front row seats to a slapfight. In that time, the press also occasionally received bizarre emails from someone purporting to be Katie Johnson, which her attorney said were not sent by her. Here’s one, in which all spelling errors and creative use of caps lock are in the original.
mR. bAER, again sorry about my KEYboard sticking I spilled some coffee on it yESTERday while reading SOME of the INAne emails YOU send out to everyone IN POlitics and the media. Mr. BaER you are so full of it I can’t believe you have the nerve to ever question anything THat I have said or done. YOU have DEfamed my good name and ask for your immediate apology for your innapropriate words when it comes TO MY motivation. you crow about supporting me but all you ever gave me was a few measLEY DOLLARs and now you think you own me and can defame me to the MEDia. YOu have another thing coming mr. BAer. I refuse to speak or deal WITH you again until you apologize publicly for the lies YOu have speread about myself AND MY motivation. all I WANT To do is stop the man who raped and sodomized me When I was only 13 from becoming THE NEXT president of our great country. ANd now you with your pack of lies about me have helped that evil pervert. sHame on you MR. BaeR, have you not even one shred of human decency in your hypocitcal body. you MUSt immediately apologize for trying TO HARM my good name and after a heartfelt apology hopefully I CAN forgive your lack of loyalty AND
Despite planning a press conference, Bloom does not represent Doe in her current lawsuit. She is represented by Thomas Meagher, a New Jersey lawyer who usually does patent law. Casey Anthony’s defense attorney J. Cheney Mason filed a motion asking to be her co-counsel, which was rejected by the court for procedural reasons but granted after he-refiled. On November 1, a lawyer named Evan L. Goldman also filed a request with the court to act as co-counsel, which was also rejected due to a filing error. Goldman is re-filing.
Meagher has told Jezebel and other media outlets that the behavior of the men promoting her lawsuit shouldn’t be held against his client.
Trump’s attorneys have vigorously denied the allegations, and have threatened to file for sanctions against Johnson’s attorneys if they pursue the suit. A pretrial hearing in the case is set for December 16.
Update, 9:30 p.m.:
Bloom tweeted that her firm’s website and emails were hacked today.
The account she links to, though, is not actually the more “official” account for Anonymous-affiliated actions, @YourAnonNews. Instead, it’s a rabidly pro-Trump account using Anonymous imagery.
The account also linked to an earlier lawsuit filed by Jane Doe, which was voluntarily dismissed but then re-filed in September. The account seems to blame Hillary Clinton as well as Bloom’s mother Gloria Allred, whose name they’ve misspelled.
Correction: An earlier version of this post indicated that Mason’s co-counsel request was rejected; he re-filed it and has been accepted as co-counsel.