The Donald Trump campaign hit back on Friday at an allegation that he sexually assaulted a woman aboard a plane in the 1980s, presenting a supposed witness to the alleged incident.
In a note provided to the New York Post by the campaign on Friday, Anthony Gilberthorpe said that he was sitting across from the businessman and Jessica Leeds on the flight and refuted the latter’s claims that Trump groped her.
“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,”claimed Gilberthorpe, who is British.
On Wednesday, Leeds, now 74, spoke out in a New York Times report, alleging that Trump groped her while on a first-class flight to New York in the early 1980s. She told the Times, “He was like an octopus … His hands were everywhere.”
Leeds was 38 at the time of the alleged assault, and says she moved to the back of the plane without reporting the incident to airline staff.
Gilberthorpe, 54, told the Post in an interview that he saw no inappropriate interactions between Leeds and Trump. He claimed, however, that Leeds was “shrill” and “trying too hard,” and had told him that she “wanted to marry” Trump while the GOP nominee was in the bathroom.
He said that he has no evidence of his side of the story, but described his memory as excellent.
“What she said about Trump is wrong,” Gilberthrope asserted to the Post, adding, “If there’s evidence Trump’s done it, sure, hang him from the post, but I was there, I was in a position to know that what she said was wrong, wrong, wrong.”
No stranger to headlines, Gilberthorpe reportedly claimed in 2014 that he had procured boys for sex parties with British politicians during his youth, the Post said. Gilberthorpe was not sought out by the Trump campaign, but instead reached out to them.
Following the publication of the Times piece, Leeds also spoke with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, explaining that she decided to share her allegations when Trump first announced his candidacy last year.
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Trump initially told the Times of Leeds’ account, “None of this ever took place.”
His lawyer later threatened to sue the newspaper and demanded a retraction, calling the article “reckless, defamatory and constitutes libel.” The Times declined to take down the story.
Earlier in the day, Trump’s running mate, Gov. Mike Pence, promised that evidence supporting the mogul against the allegations would be “coming out.”
He added, “The campaign is working on bringing that information out.”