Trump Camp Offers Colorful Brit As Witness To Dispute Groping Claim

AP

After claiming to have proof that multiple accusations of sexual misconduct against their candidate were fabricated, the Trump campaign on Friday provided the New York Post with a colorful British witness to dispute one woman’s allegation that Trump groped her on a plane in the early ‘80s.

The New York Post reported that Anthony Gilberthorpe “has no evidence to back up his claim—just his self-described excellent memory.”

Yet the Trump campaign told the Post that Gilberthorpe’s experience in the first class cabin of an airliner in 1980 or 1981—Gilberthorpe couldn’t remember which—serves as proof that Trump did not grope Leeds. Gilberthorpe, 54, would have been 17 or 18 years old at the time.

“I have only met this accuser once and frankly cannot imagine why she is seeking to make out that Trump made sexual advances on her. Not only did he not do so (and I was present at all times) but it was she that was the one being flirtatious,” Gilberthorpe said in a note provided to The Post by the Trump campaign.

Gilberthorpe further claimed Leeds was “trying too hard” to win Trump’s attention.

“She wanted to marry him,” he said, according to the Post.

The Post noted that Gilberthorpe, a former Tory Party activist, made news as a whistleblower in 2014. He claimed that, as a 17-year-old, he “procured” boys, some of whom he said may have been underage, for sex parties with high-ranking British politicians. When Gilberthorpe came forward in 2014, most of the officials he accused of soliciting boys were already dead, and a former minister dismissed his claims, saying that Gilberthorpe had invented the story after his own political career failed to take off, according to the Daily Mail.

Gilberthorpe was also the alleged tipster behind a sex scandal that led to the downfall of conservative British parliamentarian Piers Merchant’s career. Merchant, after he resigned, accused Gilberthorpe of setting up his affair with a 17-year-old hostess and leaking news of it to the Sunday Mirror, a British tabloid, in exchange for £25,000.

Leeds, 74, claimed in a New York Times story published Wednesday night that Trump groped her without her on on a flight in the early ‘80s. In an interview with Anderson Cooper the following day, she further claimed Trump kissed her without consent and said the flight could have been in 1979.

Leeds described to the Times and Anderson Cooper that she was wearing a skirt, and that Trump attempted to reach up her skirt before she left the seat next to his and went to the back of the plane for the rest of the flight. Gilberthorpe, however, claimed to the Post that Leeds was wearing a white pantsuit.

This post has been updated.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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