A conspiratorial meme contrasting two different court trials claims that the “system” allowed one of them to be livestreamed but “kept you in the dark” about the other to protect powerful people. But that’s not true. Let’s take a look at the facts.
Conspiratorial thinking can lead people to jump to conclusions and misinterpret innocuous details as “evidence” that supports their preferred theories about the world. In this case, false rumors about Maxwell’s trial stem from a persistent belief that powerful institutions are conspiring to protect influential people associated with Jeffrey Epstein — the financier who died by suicide while awaiting trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges in 2019. Conspiracy theorists indulged in the same kind of motivated reasoning when Kyle Rittenhouse was tried for murder in Wisconsin state court in 2021. Several iterations of this highly misleading claim have recently circulated online, including in an April 25 tweet by Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.
- “Fact check: Court guidelines allow video, photos of Johnny Depp trial, unlike Ghislaine Maxwell case” (Emiliano Tahui Gómez, USA Today).
- “Posts misleadingly compare coverage of Ghislaine Maxwell, Johnny Depp trials” (Manon Jacob, AFP Fact Check).
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