Did court records link Robert de Niro to a child sex trafficking ring? No, that's not true: De Niro was questioned by Paris police investigating an international prostitution ring in 1997, but the actor was considered a witness -- not a suspect -- and it was not identified as a child sex trafficking ring. A news report published in 1998 said de Niro had been a client of an escort service while making a movie in France, but there was no allegation that de Niro was provided an underage teen. Prostitution is not illegal in the country.
The story first emerged in 2018 after de Niro made comments critical of President Trump, and it was more recently repeated in an article published on July 12, 2019 titled "Robert de Niro Linked to Child Sex Trafficking Ring According to Court Records" (archived here) which opened:
According to court records from 1998, Independent journalist John Lichfield discovered that the prostitution agency routinely ensnared girls as young as 15, forcing them to have sex With Hollywood's rich and powerful elite.
The French Vice Squad traced 89 young women who said they had been tricked or sometimes physically constrained by the agency into working for them. The girls were sometimes "sold on like cattle" to other call-girl agencies.
While it is not clear whether or not De Niro was supplied with underage girls, his involvement in the ring received little to no media coverage.
Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:
Robert de Niro Linked to Child Sex Trafficking Ring According to Court Records
According to court records from 1998, Independent journalist John Lichfield discovered that the prostitution agency routinely ensnared girls as young as 15,
The claim that the questioning of de Niro received "little to no media coverage" is bizaare considering this story is largely ripped off from a 1998 story by reporter John Lichfeild in the Independent newspaper. Whole paragraphs were copied with the context changed to make it appear to be about child sex trafficking and to implicate de Niro. This is from the 1998 story:
De Niro, despite a much publicised "arrest" in Paris while filming a movie earlier this year, was questioned only as a witness and occasional client of the network's prostitutes. He is suing the investigating magistrate, Frederic N'Guyen Duc Quang, following his highly publicised interrogation; the actor's lawyers accuse the investigator of deliberate publicity-seeking. Messrs Fibak and Sarde are the subject of a separate judicial investigation.
The recent story reveals its motive:
Where does it end?
Just last year, De Niro decided to slam President Trump and dub him a sexual predator. He went so far as to call Trump "a dog."
Now the tables have severely turned around. De Niro should be ashamed of himself for picking on President Trump for making an insignificant comment years ago... especially since he is was at the heart of an international prostitution ring.