At least three women have come forward with accusations of sexual misconduct against the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland.
Sondland became Democrats’ star impeachment witness after testifying that President Trump’s phone call to Ukrainian President Zelensky constituted “quid pro quo.”
The Daily Caller reports each of the alleged instances of sexual misconduct occurred before Sondland was the ambassador.
Sondland immediately refuted the allegations, saying they were “at odds with” his “character.” From the report:
Sondland has been central to the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. He testified Nov. 20 that Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani requested Ukraine look into the Bidens in exchange for a White House meeting.
Author Nicole Vogel, Jana Solis and Natalie Sept accused Sondland of sexual misconduct, ProPublica and Portland Monthly reported Wednesday. Sondland has denied all of their accusations.
“There has never been mention of them in any form during the period of the allegations, although such a complaint could easily have been aired through multiple channels,” Sondland wrote in a statement. “These false incidents are at odds with my character.”
Three women accuse Gordon Sondland of sexual misconduct https://t.co/0CFU2vUkYM
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) November 29, 2019
According to the report, Sondland attempted to kiss Vogel at a hotel in 2003 when she rejected it and fled. The two maintained a business relationship and met once more to hash out the details of a potential investment when Sondland inappropriately placed his hand on Vogel’s mid-thigh. The Daily Caller reports Vogel placed her hand on his to prevent him from moving his hand any further up her leg.
Sondland’s lawyer claims Vogel and the publication she owns “stand to benefit directly from publishing these allegations.”
The attorney said because Vogel did not bring these accusations up earlier in Vogel’s career, he “casts grave doubt on her credibility.”
“As you are doubtless aware, one of the three complainants, Nicole Vogel, is the owner and publisher of the Portland Monthly,” the lawyer said. “She and her publication stand to benefit directly from publishing these allegations, and Ms. Vogel’s delay in bringing these forward — even as Ambassador Sondland was undergoing public scrutiny by Congress as part of his confirmation in 2018 — casts grave doubt on her credibility. Indeed, we understand that Portland Monthly is under significant financial pressure and Ms. Vogel’s efforts seem designed to salvage it.”
The Daily Caller reports Solis similarly described multiple encounters in which Sondland acted inappropriately.
In the first, the two met at a hotel in 2008 where Sondland was reportedly flirting the entire time before remarking he wanted to hire Solis “on the spot as his ‘new hotel chick.’” According to the report, he slapped her butt on their way out of the hotel.
In the second interaction, Solis went to Sondland’s home for a tour of his art collection. At some point, Solis left to use the restroom. When she returned, Sondland was “naked from the waist down.”
“He said something about, ‘I thought we could chat.’ And I said something, trying to keep his ego intact — not that he needed that, not that it wouldn’t have been anyway — I said something like, ‘I can’t have that conversation,’” Solis said via the Daily Caller.
A third exchanged occurred in a penthouse owned by Sondland, unbeknownst to Solis. He invited her over, which she obliged.
“The next thing I know, he’s all over me,” Solis said about the incident. “He’s on top of me. He’s kissing me, shoving his tongue down my throat. And I’m trying to wiggle out from under him, and the next thing you know, I’m sort of rising up to get away from him, and I fall over the back of the couch.”
Here’s more on the third accuser, from the report:
Sept said she had a 2010 breakfast with Sondland, which sparked multiple other outings. She said how comfortable she felt with Sondland as the two had many personal connections. During one dinner, Sept said she came back from the bathroom and Sondland insisted that she sit beside him in a booth.
She allegedly cut the evening short and Sondland tried to kiss her outside of her car. Sept said she sent a follow-up email after the dinner to schedule a meeting an attempt to “maintain professionalism.” Sondland did not reply, according to her account.
The Daily Caller reports Sept described Sondland as someone who “uses his power to terrorize people who he perceives as having less power is really disgusting.”
“I want other women to feel comfortable to share their stories, and be believed,” she added.