Wednesday, September 26, 2018


The Washington Post has published a fact-check of the many dishonest statements President Trump made in his news conference today on the subject of sexual misconduct. Here's an excerpt:
“I’ve had many false charges. I had a woman sitting in an airplane and I attacked her while people were coming onto the plane.”

Trump is referring to a 2016 interview in the New York Times with Jessica Leeds, who described an encounter with Trump in the first-class cabin of a flight more than three decades ago, when she was a traveling business executive at a paper company. It did not take place as people were coming onto the plane, as Trump claimed. Instead, about 45 minutes after takeoff, she said, Trump lifted the armrest and began to touch her. Trump grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt. “He was like an octopus,” Leeds said. “His hands were everywhere.” She fled to the back of the plane. “It was an assault,” she said.

Leeds told the story to at least four people close to her, who also spoke with the Times. The Trump campaign offered the perspective of a British man who claimed to have sat near the two on the plane and somehow three decades later remembered the incident in detail. “She was the one being flirtatious,” he said.
What the Post neglected to add was that the British man who allegedly witnessed this incident, Anthony Gilberthorpe, had a rather checkered past.
1987: Announced his engagement in the Times to Miss Leah Bergdorf-Hunt. “But there was no engagement, and indeed no Miss Bergdorf-Hunt.... the whole thing was a fantasy.”

1988: Sued three newspapers over a story that the reporter said came from Gilberthorpe himself. “The three newspapers appealed, and dug out new information which cast serious doubt on [his] version of events.... The newspapers paid not a penny in damages and contributed only £5,000 to his legal costs — leaving him very much out of pocket and with egg all over his face.”

1997: Betrayed his friend Piers Merchant MP, who had come to Gilberthorpe’s home for a weekend visit with his mistress. After cheery goodbyes, Merchant and his girlfriend later found quotes from their pillow-talk and photos of them in bed splashed all over the Sunday Mirror. “Gilby, it transpired, had fitted out the spare-room with hidden cameras and microphones and shopped his loyal friend to the tabloid for £25,000.”

2014: Gilberthorpe told the Daily Mirror that he had procured “rent-boys” for senior Tory politicians—all of them conveniently dead—back in the 80s. “Trawling seedy streets during a Tory conference, Gilberthorpe says he was asked to find underage rent boys for a private sex party at a top hotel....In a series of explosive claims about conferences at Blackpool and Brighton in the 1980s, he alleges boys as young as 15 indulged in alcohol and cocaine before they had sex with the powerful politicians.”
Gilberthorpe, who was 54 in 2016 when he defended Trump's honor, was 18 when the flight in question took place. He claimed he was able to ID a passenger from a flight 36 years earlier because he has a "photographic memory." It's about as plausible as his other claims. Amazing he's never gotten a job in the administration.

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