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Accused Epstein conspirator Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking trial is inspiring countless online conspiracy theories

Coincidences? They think not.

 

Claire Goforth

Tech

Published Dec 1, 2021   Updated Dec 2, 2021, 10:42 am CST

Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking trial began on Monday. It’s already inspiring numerous conspiracy theories.

Maxwell is accused of being an accomplice of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. The billionaire’s suicide in jail similarly fostered countless conspiracy theories.

A common and easily debunked conspiracy about Maxwell’s trial concerns the lack of cameras in the courtroom. Federal courts simply don’t allow cameras.

This hasn’t stopped many from theorizing that there’s something nefarious about Maxwell’s trial not being live streamed or photographed.

“No cameras in the courtroom? Ghislaine Maxwell finna get Epstein’d soon after this. Watch,” wrote one Twitter user.

Others are falsely spreading a rumor that the media is barred from the courtroom.

“…[M]edia are banned from the courtroom, no live stream because of ‘sensational’ elements, the judge is an Obama appointee just promoted by Biden, & the prosecutor is James Comey’s daughter. FISHY,” conservative political commentator Liz Wheeler blasted to her 600,000 Twitter followers.

In a follow-up tweet, she acknowledged that federal courts prohibit cameras, but insisted, “LOL to self-righteous bluechecks ignoring media ban, evidence redaction, judge & prosecutor.”

Contrary to such assertions, judges commonly refuse to release evidence of alleged sex crimes. And presidents promote judges all the time, particularly those appointed by their predecessors from the same political party. Further, Comey’s daughter is hardly the first to follow in a parent’s career footsteps.

The lie about media being banned from attending the trial was so pervasive that several outlets posted stories debunking it.

Yet it persists.

Another conspiracy theory spreading across the internet is based on a mixture of coincidences, mix-ups, and lies. People are claiming that there’s something suspicious about Twitter Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey resigning on the first day of Maxwell’s trial.

A much-circulated tweet claims the CEOs of Walmart and CNBC also resigned. The CEO of Walmart didn’t resign, however; the chief financial officer announced on Monday that he will leave the post some time next year. And CNBC’s CEO has made no indication that they’ll resign.

The same allegation was posted by We the Pepe, a Telegram channel with nearly 80,000 subscribers. Some subscribers corrected the false information about Walmart, but many believed it.

Some are spreading a slighter different version of the theory. They say that Dorsey and the CFOs of Walmart, CNBC, and Goldman Sachs, in some versions, all resigned on Monday. Only the first two are true. And none of the resignations have any apparent connection to Maxwell’s sex trafficking case.

To conspiracy theorists, however, there’s no such thing as coincidence and correlation is always causation.

Riggs1369/Telegram

QAnon John, a Telegram channel with roughly 75,000 subscribers posted the theory and added some Q drop flavor.

“Elites are getting nervous and jumping ship,” QAnon John wrote. “One leads to another, to another, to another. One leads to many. This is the drip, drip, Flood Q speaks about.”

Many people, even on some Telegram channels, have pushed back against such conspiracy theories. But in the world of the internet, people choose what they believe—or not.

Maxwell’s trial continues Wednesday.

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*First Published: Dec 1, 2021, 7:00 am CST