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There was no conspiracy to hide Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial

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.

A Facebook post that says, “The same system that kept you in the dark about Ghislaine Maxwell and her client list, doesn’t mind live-streaming Johnny Depp’s trial”. The post includes an image of a courtroom sketch of Maxwell juxtaposed with a photo of Depp in court. The News Literacy Project has added a label that says "MISLEADING."
The fact that Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial for sex trafficking in 2021 was not broadcast while other court proceedings — such as the 2022 defamation trial involving Johnny Depp and his ex-wife, Amber Heard — are live-streamed is not due to a conspiracy to protect powerful people on Maxwell’s “client list,” as this meme implies.
Maxwell’s criminal trial took place in federal court, where “electronic media coverage … has been expressly prohibited” since 1946.
Depp’s defamation suit against Heard is a civil matter being tried in a Virginia state court, where electronic media coverage is permitted at the discretion of judges.

NewsLit takeaway

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.

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