Donald Trump heads to North Carolina on Friday, while President Obama hits the trail for Hillary Clinton.

Trump defender has colorful past

A British man who is defending Donald Trump against a recent groping allegation has a colorful history of his own.

Anthony Gilberthorpe, who told the New York Post that he was on a flight where Trump is alleged to have groped a woman more than three decades ago, is a former conservative activist who inserted himself into an investigation of a pedophile ring among top British politicians in 2014.

Gilberthorpe said that he had provided underage boys for top Cabinet members at Conservative Party gatherings in the early 1980s, and that he told then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher about it.

He made the claims shortly after the British government launched an inquiry into the alleged ring, three alleged murders and accusations of a coverup. The inquiry ended this year with no arrests and no proof the ring ever existed.

On Friday, the Trump campaign provided a note written by Gilberthorpe to the Post saying he had witnessed an inflight encounter between the GOP presidential nominee and Jessica Leeds and nothing inappropriate happened.

“[I] 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,” Gilberthorpe said.

Leeds, 74, told the New York Times in a report published Wednesday that Trump grabbed her breasts and tried to slip his hand up her skirt in the first-class cabin of the plane as she sat next to him in first class.

On Friday, Trump dismissed the allegation, pointing to her looks.

"Believe me, she would not be my first choice, that I can tell you," he said during a rally in Greensboro, N.C.

Latest updates

By the numbers

How does Clinton or Trump get to 270 electoral votes? Play with our map.

Third debate scorecard: Here's who's winning each round

All things Clinton | All things Trump

Who's endorsing who? Find out which celebrities support each candidate.

Find out which Republicans support Donald Trump

Get free news and analysis in your inbox daily from our political team.

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World