A Donald Trump donor is accusing Corey Lewandowski, one of the former president’s longtime top aides, of making unwanted sexual advances toward her at a Las Vegas charity event over the weekend.
Trashelle Odom, the wife of Idaho construction executive John Odom, alleges that Lewandowski repeatedly touched her, including on her leg and buttocks, and spoke to her in sexually graphic terms. Odom said that Lewandowski “stalked” her throughout the evening.
Four people who were first-hand witnesses at the event corroborated Odom’s allegations. POLITICO also spoke with two people — one who was at the event and another who was not — who described conversations they had with Odom about the incidents immediately after they happened.
“On the evening of September 26 in Las Vegas, Nevada, I attended a dinner to support a charity and spend time with wonderful friends,” Odom said in a statement to POLITICO. “He repeatedly touched me inappropriately, said vile and disgusting things to me, stalked me, and made me feel violated and fearful,” she said, referring to Lewandowski.
“I am coming forward because he needs to be held accountable,” Odom continued. “I am blessed to have a loving husband and family behind me. I want other women to know that you can be heard, too, and together we can stop terrible things like this from happening.”
David Chesnoff, a Las Vegas attorney representing Lewandowski, did not directly address the allegations. “Accusations and rumors appear to be morphing by the minute and we will not dignify them with a further response,” he said.
Lewandowski, who did not respond to multiple requests for comment, has positioned himself as one of Trump’s closest and most loyal advisers — a role he has leveraged to gain access to top Republican donors and claim influence over the direction of the Republican Party. He was Trump’s first presidential campaign manager in 2016, advised him during the presidency and now is part of the circle of aides advising the former president. His duties now include steering a pro-Trump super PAC.
Odom was one of about two dozen major Republican donors at the Sunday dinner, which was held at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino’s Benihana restaurant. Odom was seated next to Lewandowski during the gathering, part of a four-day conference held by Victoria’s Voice Foundation, a charity devoted to combating substance abuse. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, to whom Lewandowski serves as an informal adviser, was also among the dinner’s attendees.
According to a statement provided by an Odom family attorney, Lewandowski allegedly remarked on the size of his genitalia, described his sexual performance and showed Odom his hotel room key. After the incident, Odom told people that Lewandowski repeatedly spoke about sex while using expletives.
Attendees also observed Lewandowski growing physical with Odom.
“Mrs. Odom stated that over the course of the dinner, Mr. Lewandowski tried to hold her hand, and she pushed his hand away. He touched her leg, and she moved it away. He grabbed her napkin off her lap and tried to touch her leg again, and she pulled her dress over her leg, to move his hand away and cover her skin,” Odom’s attorney wrote in the statement.
“He touched her back and she tried to get away,” the statement continued. “He described an area where he was sore from a workout, on the side of his butt, but he demonstrated this by touching her there—on the upper side of her rear end. Lewandowski tried to touch her approximately 10 times, and Mrs. Odom always rebuffed him.”
Odom left the room but was soon followed by Lewandowski, who remarked that she had a “nice ass,” according to the statement from her attorney and another attendee who heard the comment. Lewandowski also “threw his drink at Mrs. Odom, and it landed all over her shoe and the bottom of her dress,” and “called her stupid,” her attorney stated.
One event attendee who spoke with POLITICO said that Odom gave a detailed retelling of the incidents afterward, describing how she grew fearful for her personal safety as Lewandowski described incidents of violence that took place earlier in his life.
Odom and her husband are relative newcomers to the Republican donor scene, and she told the attendee that she felt intimidated by Lewandowski’s claims that he has control over the former president’s orbit and can determine the fate of those around Trump.
Lewandowski said no candidate receives the president’s endorsement without Lewandowski’s approval, Odom told the attendee.
In the statement from Odom’s attorney, Lewandowski is alleged to have said “repeatedly that he is very powerful and can destroy anyone,” and that he “is close with President Trump and can get anyone elected or can take anyone out.”
“Corey was verbally and physically aggressive and forceful,” Odom alleged in a statement. “I was fearful for my physical safety.” She continued: “I was also fearful that Corey has the power to destroy and ruin everything my husband and I have been working on in our business, personal and charitable endeavors.”
Two of the people present for the dinner described Odom as appearing uncomfortable, and three attendees said Lewandowski appeared to be intoxicated. Photos of the dinner reviewed by POLITICO show Odom posing for selfies with attendees. Several photos showed Lewandowski just above her right shoulder, with his tongue sticking out of his mouth.
Odom then left the restaurant for an after-dinner party in the hotel’s lavish Verona Sky Villa, where witnesses described a chaotic scene. One person who interacted with Odom recalled seeing her in tears and pleading for help. By this time, she had been joined by her sister and stepson, who had accompanied her to Las Vegas.
Attendees said Odom retreated to the other side of the bar with her sister and stepson when Lewandowski came to the villa. Lewandowski followed her, at which point several other attendees tried to shield Odom from him, shepherding her to another part of the bar, according to three people who were present. According to Odom’s attorney, “Corey then moved around the bar with them” and continued “to try to touch Mrs. Odom.”
Attendees said Odom and Lewandowski left the party separately. Odom told one person and later recounted to the family lawyer that she had feared for her physical safety staying at the hotel that evening, because her room was located next to Lewandowski’s. She also told those people she timed her departure the next day to ensure she did not cross paths with him.
It is not the first time Lewandowski has been accused of unwanted touching. In late 2017, singer Joy Villa filed a police report alleging the former Trump campaign manager slapped her buttocks during a holiday party at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Lewandowski was also charged with battery in 2016 after yanking the arm of a reporter, Michelle Fields, at a Trump event. The charges were later dropped, but Lewandowski claimed the incident never happened before video emerged confirming that it did.
The 48-year-old Lewandowski has long been one of Trump’s top lieutenants. He was fired from his role as presidential campaign manager before Trump was nominated at the Republican National Convention in 2016, but he has remained a key figure in Trump’s inner circle, serving as an informal adviser and one of his most prominent surrogates.
A Trump spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment, though word of the incident has shaken the former president’s inner circle, several people familiar with the discussions said.
After Trump lost the 2020 election, he personally tapped Lewandowski to helm the main pro-Trump super PAC, Make America Great Again Action.
The perch has given Lewandowski access to some of the Republican Party’s biggest donors — a list that includes Trashelle Odom and her husband. The couple has donated $100,000 to the super PAC, according to two of the people familiar with the matter.
But those close to the Odoms say the couple will ask for their money to be refunded unless Lewandowski’s ties to the super PAC are severed.
“I love my wife, and I want accountability now,” John Odom, Trashelle’s husband, said in a statement. “We are exploring our legal options at this time to make sure [Lewandowski] cannot harm anyone else.”
Meridith McGraw contributed to this report.