Donald Trump’s response to most of his growing list of women with credible accusations against him of sexual impropriety has largely been to say that they lied and were too ugly in any case. But the campaign has trotted out one purported eyewitness to discredit Jessica Leeds, who said Trump groped her when they were seatmates on a flight more than 30 years ago.
And what a credible witness he’s turned out to be.
Anthony Gilberthorpe says he clearly remembers the incident in question because of his excellent memory. In an interview with the Trump-friendly New York Post, Gilberthorpe says Leeds was “shrill” and confided to him that she wanted to marry Trump.
“I mean, no decent human being could sit by and have a woman go on television and tell the United States of America — accuse an individual of sexually molesting,” Gilberthorpe insisted. “It’s wrong for Trump, it’s wrong for me. But you know something else? It’s wrong for the American people.”
Of course, it’s not wrong if it’s true. And Gilberthorpe’s concern for America is touching, considering he’s a Brit.
With a penchant for putting himself in the middle of sex scandals, some of them self-created. Like the time he recorded an MP friend of his having sex with his 18-year-old mistress so he could sell the story to the tabloids.
Gilberthorpe has been a fixture in the British press for three decades, and not in a good way. If he was on the flight with Trump and Leeds, he was around 17 or 18 years old. How could a teenager afford a first-class seat? According to Buzzfeed, Gilberthorpe “inherited £250,000 from an elderly bachelor whom he lodged with.”
In case you’re wondering if that suggests Gilberthorpe is gay, you’ll be interested to hear that he was involved in a lawsuit in which he took on three newspapers for insinuating that he “had AIDS and was a promiscuous homosexual.” What made the lawsuit interesting is that one reporter said the source of the AIDS claim was Gilberthorpe himself. Gilberthorpe originally won the case, but the newspapers appealed, citing new information, and eventually Gilberthorpe settled for an amount that didn’t cover his legal costs.
Then there was the wedding announcement splashed all over the papers, in which Gilberthorpe announced he was engaged to an American designer named Leah Bergdorf-Hunt. As it turns out, Gilberthorpe was not engaged to Bergdorf-Hunt, because no such person exists.
Gilberthorpe’s most recent foray into the news was to put himself forward as a pimp in the 1980s procuring “the youngest and prettiest” rent boys, some of them underage, for prominent Tory politicians, including Cabinet ministers in Margaret Thatcher’s government. Conveniently enough, the politicians in question were dead, so they could not respond.
This is Donald Trump’s idea of a character witness.