A FORMER Radcliffe Times reporter spent three minutes drafting an email on his mobile phone ­— ­and it landed him in the thick of claims of Russian interference in the US presidential election. BRAD MARSHALL reports

IT has been dubbed “the most famous email in history”and it turned Rob Goldstone’s life upside down.

Born and raised on a Whitefield council estate, Mr Goldstone never expected to find himself facing down the questions of US officials investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential Election and collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. But that is just where the correspondence, which was “written in three minutes on a cell phone”, led him.

Sent to Donald Trump Jr, just days after his father’s nomination as Republican candidate, on behalf of Mr Goldstone’s client, Azerbaijani pop star and the son of billionaire Moscow oligarch Aras Agalarov, Emin; the email allegedly promised dirt on Hillary Clinton and the Democrats from the “crown prosecutor” of Russia.

It resulted in a meeting at Trump Tower days later which was attended by some of the biggest names now at the heart of the Russia-gate scandal, including then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and now-senior Whitehouse advisor Jared Kushner, as well as the unlikely presence of a former Radcliffe Times journalist ­— Mr Goldstone.

The events thrust Mr Goldstone into the eye of an international political drama. He has now written a book, Pageants, Pop Stars and Presidents: How an Email Trumped My Life; recounting his life and the news whirlwind he has found himself in.

Speaking to Bury Times, Mr Goldstone said he believed a book would be the simplest way to fulfill his desire to contextualise what has happened to him over the past 12 months, while addressing the non-stop media circus which followed the Trump Tower meeting, in his own words.

He said: “I have had so much written about me by the media in the past year and commentators have had a lot to say on what my role, or perceived role, was in the Russia-gate activities.”

Although the book sheds new light on the Russia-gate scandal, Mr Goldstone says the book is “not so much about revelations as context”.

He said: “This book is about putting everything that people have read or seen and giving it context.

“At the same time it’s been a plan of mine to write a book about my career and my life. I didn’t want to make it political because I’m not political, but I wanted it to trace my life ­— how a lad from Whitefield ended up where I am.”

Rob Goldstone grew up on the Hillock estate, attending schools in Salford, Cheshire and Prestwich before leaving education at the age of 16 to pursue a career in the media.

Despite being told by his teachers he would never be a journalist, Mr Goldstone first landed a job at the Jewish Gazette, and later moved to the Bury Times, where he was assigned as a reporter on the Radcliffe Times.

After a stint at the Birmingham Post and Mail, and a period freelancing in London’s Fleet Street, Mr Goldstone relocated to Australia where he wrote for AAP, and became the only journalist to join Michael Jackson for his Bad tour in the 1980s.

Mr Goldstone then jumped careers to become a publicist, settling in New York and founding PR firm Oui 2 Management ­— eventually becoming the publicist for Emin Agalarov.

It was through Emin that he first met Trump in 2013, after the pop star brought the Miss Universe competition, then run by Donald Trump, to Moscow.

Mr Goldstone would go on to meet Trump again on several occasions ­— but insists this was in a purely professional capacity.

He said: “I met Donald Trump a handful of times in a business sense. I have been described as anything up to Trump’s family friend, but I’m a publicist.”

It is in the same sense that he views his role in writing the email to Trump Jr.

He said: “I wrote the email because my client asked me to get a meeting. I used the information that he had given me and used my journalistic language to puff it up to get the attention of Donald Trump Jr. ­— and it obviously worked. And it also got the world’s attention.”

However he conceded: “The difference is that the email went to someone whose father later became the President of the United States.”

The email composed by Mr Goldstone suggested a meeting to discuss “official documents and information” offered to the Trump campaign by the “Crown prosecutor of Russia” that “would incriminate Hillary [Clinton] and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.”

The rest, as they say, is history. After Trump Jr. infamously replied “If it’s what you say it is, I love it” to the email, a meeting at Trump Tower was arranged for June, 2016.

Mr Goldstone was evasive when asked about what took place at the meeting but did note that the discussions were “much more complicated” than the information offered in his email.

He added: “The meeting turned out to have nothing to do with what the email was about, but the issues in my email were touched on at the start.”

This meeting became a key part of the US Justice Department’s investigation, putting Mr Goldstone’s name on the lips of news outlets around the world.

He said: “This story is on TV 24 hours a day. It’s a never ending cycle of the story over and over again. And my name is somehow in the middle of it.

“This story is only a small story, but probably the most news worthy part of my life.”

In December, 2017, Mr Goldstone was interviewed behind closed doors by the House Intelligence Committee ­— somewhere he never expected to find himself.

He said: “I was shocked and a bit gobsmacked because I had been to the meeting and seen that it was ultimately nonsense, so I didn’t understand why people would care about this initially.

“But as time went on we found that it’s a piece of a puzzle that people are investigating and I’m part of that and that’s fine.

“I was only involved in the investigation in a voluntary capacity when I was asked to take part as a witness. It’s a bit shocking for someone from Whitefield to be giving testimony in the capital of the USA.

“My part in it was a very simple part of the investigation to follow if you see past the hype, and that’s what I wanted to tell.

“I shouldn’t have been there. There was no reason for me to be there.”

He added: “An email written in three minutes on a cell phone can have such an impact on someone’s life. It’s incredible. And it’s a long way from Radcliffe.”

Pageants, Pop Stars and Presidents: How an Email Trumped My Life is out on September 25, published by Two Many Hats Publishing, and Mr Goldstone is planning to follow it up with a tour with interviews and talks.