Louise Mensch retweets hoax claims Donald Trump’s company is being investigated for sex trafficking

False allegations retweeted by Louise Mensch about a criminal inquiry into Donald Trump’s former modelling agency were made by a hoaxer claiming to work in New York law enforcement, it has emerged.

Writer and former Clinton staffer Claude Taylor tweeted fake details of a criminal inquiry into a fashion modelling agency on possible sex trafficking charges by the New York Attorney General but allegedly did not check whether the details were genuine.

These allegations were then endorsed as authentic and retweeted by Ms Mensch – a former Tory MP who is an outspoken critic of the US President.

But the anonymous hoaxer, who called herself “Caitlin”, came forward in an email to The Guardian saying she planted the false information, including a separate allegation that Mr Trump has already been secretly replaced behind the scenes by Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, because she was sick of the “dissemination of fake news”.

She said: “Taylor asked no questions to verify my identity, did no vetting whatsoever, sought no confirmation from a second source – but instead asked leading questions to support his various theories, asking me to verify them.”

After being approached by the Guardian, Mr Taylor posted a “mea culpa” on Twitter, saying: “As a ‘citizen journalist’ I acknowledge my error and do apologise”.

But Ms Mensch doubled down, denying that she was using the bogus information and said she had her own separate sources for the allegation.

She said: “I don’t think anybody can vet anybody else’s sources.”

The hoaxer said she wished to remain anonymous to avoid any backlash from Mr Taylor and Ms Mensch’s supporters but The Guardian said it has verified her identity.

The pair call themselves co-writers and have cultivated a large US fanbase of members of the so-called Trump “resistance” who are campaigning for his impeachment who donate money for their work through crowdfunding.

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