The special counsel Robert Mueller’s office has referred an alleged scheme to the FBI in which an operative offered to pay women to falsely accuse Mueller of sexual misconduct and workplace harassment, a spokesman for his office told Business Insider.
“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,” the spokesman, Peter Carr, said in a statement.
The lobbyist at the center of the alleged scheme, Jack Burkman, claimed that on Thursday he “will reveal the first of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s sex assault victims.”
“I applaud the courage and dignity and grace and strength of my client,” Burkman tweeted.
Scott Stedman, a freelance reporter who has closely tracked the Mueller probe, first publicly divulged details about Burkman’s alleged offer late Monday night.
“Based on information that I am privy to, I believe false accusations will be spread about Mueller in order to discredit him and possibly the journalists who are preparing this story,” he tweeted.
Stedman said he was contacted earlier this month by a woman claiming to be Mueller’s former colleague who said she got a phone call from a man working on behalf of a GOP operative offering women money to make sexual assault allegations against Mueller.
He added that the woman turned out to be “unreliable” and that the operative was also “extremely willing” to confirm that he had paid women to come forward with false claims about the special counsel.
Marcy Wheeler, an independent journalist who gained recognition for her coverage of the Scooter Libby trial in the 2000s, said she’d had a similar experience.
Journalists working at The Atlantic and The New Yorker also said they’d been contacted.
Mueller’s office first learned of the scheme when a woman got in touch with them and said she herself had been offered money to make false claims of sexual harassment against the special counsel.
The special counsel’s office was also contacted by several reporters who were told about the alleged scheme by a woman who said Burkman offered her around $20,000 “to make accusations of sexual misconduct and workplace harassment against Robert Mueller,” according to The Atlantic