A British music publicist and former tabloid journalist is one of the latest players to emerge in the Trump-Russia story.

Rob Goldstone, co-founder of New York-based PR company Oui 2 Entertainment , is no stranger to publicity, but this time he’s in the headlines himself.

He arranged the June 2016 meeting between a Kremlin-connected lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and Donald Trump Jr., who was joined by his brother-in-law Jared Kushner and former Trump presidential campaign manager Paul Manafort.

In an email sent before the meeting more than a year ago and that Trump Jr. released Tuesday, Goldstone wrote about  “some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.”

So who exactly is Goldstone and what is his connection to the Trumps and the Russians?

Goldstone, an entertainment publicist and former international marketing director for music retailer HMV Group, requested the meeting that took place in Trump Tower. Goldstone says he did so at the request of his client, Azerbaijani-born pop singer Emin Agalarov, whose ties to Veselnitskaya are unclear.

“The lawyer had apparently stated she had some information regarding illegal campaign contributions to the (Democratic National Committee) which she believed Mr. Trump Jr. might find important,” Goldstone told USA TODAY in a statement. “I reached out to Donald Trump Jr. and he agreed to squeeze us into a very tight meeting schedule.”

At the meeting, Goldstone said Veselnitskaya  “presented a few very general remarks regarding campaign funding and then quickly turned the topic” to something else.” (Multiple reports say she then spoke about Russia barring Americans from adopting there. The move was widely considered to be a retaliatory measure in response to U.S. sanctions against Russia in 2012 over a massive tax-fraud case.) 

At that point, Goldstone said, “the meeting was halted by Don Jr., and we left. Nothing came of that meeting and there was no follow-up between the two parties.”

According to the Oui 2 website, Goldstone co-founded the company with David Wilson in 1998. In the site biography, Goldstone lists business relationships with EMI Music Publishing, Best Buy and The Friars Club. In addition to working at HMV Group, he notes having worked with Richard Branson’s Virgin Megastores, Saatchi & Saatchi and musical artists Michael Jackson and BB King.

Goldstone pursued journalism in his 20s. According to his bio, he was invited to cover Bob Geldof’s Live Aid relief tour in 1985. He also says that Michael Jackson selected him to accompany the superstar on his tour of Australia in 1999.

More recently, Goldstone penned a travel essay for the New York Times in 2010 with the headline: “The Tricks and Trials of Traveling While Fat.”  In it, he writes about requiring a seat belt extender on flights: “At 285 pounds and 5 feet 7 inches, I may not be the tallest, but I am almost always one of the biggest passengers on a plane.” But he adds, “Having visited more than 50 countries in the last 20 years, I have become extremely adept at remaining calm and unfazed throughout situations that unfold because of my weight.”

Goldstone is not shy, posting often to social media, even boasting about checking into Trump Tower for the meeting in June 2016.


Connecting the dots

Goldstone client Emin Agalarov is the son of real-estate mogul Aras Agalarov, who was born in Azerbaijan and who owns landmark properties in Russia, including Crocus City Hall. That venue was the site of the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant, another Goldstone client which still was owned by Trump at the time.

Donald Trump Jr.’s father, along with various 2013 Miss Universe contestants, appeared in a music video for Emin’s single, In Another Life. The future POTUS, then still riding the wave of being the headliner on The Apprentice, can be seen starting at the 03:31 mark.

After the 2013 Miss Universe was crowned Nov. 9, the elder Trump took to Twitter to express his appreciation and excitement about his friends, the Agalarovs.  Addressing Aras Agalarov, the tweet said: “I had a great weekend with you and your family. You have done a FANTASTIC job. TRUMP TOWER-MOSCOW is next. EMIN was WOW!” 

Goldstone isn’t the first entertainment publicist to cross over into politics with Trump: Hope Hicks, who now served as a press secretary during his presidential campaign and is now director of strategic communications at the White House, initially crossed paths with Trump while working on daughter Ivanka’s fashion line.