Disclaimer: One modus operandi of the Donald Trump campaign has been the creation and distribution of conspiracy theories about his rivals. Perhaps the most infamous was linking Ted Cruz’s father to Lee Harvey Oswald. Recently the campaign has pieced together unrelated information and video clips to suggest Hillary Clinton was physically ill and incapable of fulfilling the responsibilities of president, if elected. The following is an example of how to build a conspiracy theory with no direct knowledge or solid evidence. My goal is to show how easy it is. Except for the final conclusion, all of the material in this fake tabloid story exists.
HEADLINE: DONALD TRUMP–SEX TRAFFICKER
Is Donald Trump part of a prostitution ring which traffics in underage girls? Here is what we know so far.
The August 30, 2016 edition of Mother Jones included an expose about Trump Model Management and how it allegedly violated immigration laws by encouraging young foreign woman to come to the United States on tourist visas (which prohibit working) until they proved their value as models. The article, which also included first-hand accounts of how the agency overcharged models for rent and other miscellaneous fees, stated, “Trump Model Management recruited models as young as 14.” (Source: Mother Jones, August 30, 2016)
This morning Rachel Blais (real name), one of the models who came forward, appeared on CNN and verified this information. She also said that of the several young women with whom she shared a basement apartment, only two were retained by the agency and eventually applied for and received HB-1 visas to legally work in the U.S. She also confirmed, while she was 18 years old at the time, some were as young as 14.
In what was thought to be an unrelated story, former Bear Stearns financier Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution from girls as young as 14. (Source: New York Post, June 30, 2008) In July, 2015, a federal judge ordered the documents associated with the plea deal be released. The documents identify Jean Luc Brunel, co-founder of MC2 modeling agency as one of the individuals who supplied Epstein with underage females.
Brunel has been a model scout for various modeling agencies for many years and apparently was able to get U.S.passports for young girls to “work” as models. He would bring young girls (ranging to ages as young as twelve) to the United States for sexual purposes and farm them out to his friends,especially Epstein.
Brunel has denied the charges and has filed a defamation suit against Epstein. (Source, The Daily Beast, March 26, 2015) Does this mean there really is no honor among thieves?
On April 26, 2016, Katie Johnson (real name) filed a civil suit against Trump and Epstein in federal court alleging she had been forcibly raped by Trump and Epstein in 1984 when she was 13 years old. The filing includes the following:
8. The Plaintiff, Katie Johnson, alleges she was enticed by promises of money and a modeling career to attend a series of underage sex parties held at the New York City residence of Defendant Jeffrey E. Epstein and attended by Defendant Donald J. Trump.
We have no evidence that Brunel also scouted young women for Trump Model Management or TMM supplied underage girls for Epstein’s prostitution ring. But as Trump himself would remind us, “You know, a lot of people are saying that, and a lot of people are saying that bad things are happening out there. We’re going to look at that and plenty of other things.” (Source: Donald Trump, New Hampshire, September 2015)
UPDATE: February 19, 2022
The original post was intended as satire. However, now I am not so sure. This morning Jean-Luc Brunel was found hanged in his French prison cell. Brunel had been detained at Charles de Gaulle Airport in 2020 at the request of U.S. authorities due to his association with Jeffrey Epstein, who killed himself in a NYC jail in 2019 while awaiting trial.
To paraphrase Arlo Guthrie, “If one person, just one person, kills himself after being charged with sex trafficking, they may think he’s really sick and they’ll let it pass. And if two people, two people do it, they may think it’s a conspiracy and pay a little more attention. And three people do it, three, can you imagine three people killing themselves after being associated with sex trafficking, they may think it’s a movement. And that’s what it is, the Epstein/Brunel Sex Trafficking Movement and all you have to do to join is take yourself out of the gene pool the next time it comes around on the guitar.”
If the former guy, in retrospect, thought his go-to phrase “a lot of people are saying” was creepy, what previously recorded words of wisdom will come back to haunt him now.
For what it’s worth.