WASHINGTON – A scheme in which women were allegedly offered money to falsely implicate Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller in sexual misconduct has been referred to the FBI for review, Mueller’s spokesman said Tuesday.
The hoax surfaced more than a week ago when a number of journalists were contacted via email by a person who reported receiving a telephone call from an individual making the offer.
“When we learned last week of allegations that women were offered money to make false claims about the special counsel, we immediately referred the matter to the FBI for investigation,” Mueller spokesman Peter Carr said.
Mueller, who leads the inquiry into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, has been the target of a barrage of criticism from President Donald Trump and some of his Republican allies in Congress who have accused the special counsel of unfairly targeting the president.
One of the journalists who was contacted, a correspondent for HillReporter.com, recounted the bizarre episode in an article published Tuesday.
The alleged offer, according to the publication, came from a man who proposed paying off the person’s credit card debt, and issuing a check for $20,000. According article, the caller then asked the person to move to an encrypted communications application where he could elaborate on the proposition.
“Reluctantly, I downloaded the app and he called me on that app a few minutes later,” the person said in the email to the reporter. “He said (and I will never forget exactly what it was) ‘I want you to make accusations of sexual misconduct and workplace harassment against Robert Mueller, and I want you to sign a sworn affidavit to that effect.’”
When the reporter sought to follow up by telephone with the writer of the email, believed to be a woman from Fort Myers, Fla., no one by the person’s given name could be found.
HillReporter.com “looked into this woman, as did many other journalists we have spoken with, and we all reached a conclusion that this was likely a hoax of some sort,” the publication said. “No one by the name given lived in Fort Myers.”
Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/10/30/robert-mueller-targeted-sex-misconduct-hoax-fbi-review/1821254002/