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Trump appears with Bill Clinton accusers before debate

St. Louis (AFP): Donald Trump held a surprise press conference Sunday with several women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct, just before taking the stage in a crucial presidential debate with Hillary Clinton.

One of the women was Juanita Broaddrick, who claimed in 1999 that she was raped by Clinton 21 years earlier — recanting an affidavit she signed the previous year saying the incident did not take place.

“Actions speak louder than words,” Broaddrick said. “Mr Trump may have said some bad words, but Bill Clinton raped me, and Hillary Clinton threatened me.

“I don’t think there’s any comparison,” she told the press conference convened at a hotel in St Louis, Missouri where the debate is taking place.

With his White House campaign in chaos after the release of lewd boasts about groping women, Trump has stepped up his attacks on the former president, asserting that Clinton has a history of abusing women.

The Clinton campaign dismissed the last-minute maneuver by Trump as an “act of desperation.”

“We’re not surprised to see Donald Trump continue his destructive race to the bottom,” Clinton’s communications director Jennifer Palmieri said in a statement.

Trump was also joined at the press conference by Paula Jones, a former Arkansas state employee who sued Clinton for sexual harassment, and Kathleen Willey, a former White House volunteer who has alleged Clinton assaulted her in 1993.

The fourth woman present was Kathy Shelton, who has attacked Hillary Clinton over her role in defending her alleged rapist as a young lawyer, 40 years ago.