Could Joy Reid Face Charges For Bringing False Hacking Claim To FBI?
If Joy Reid faces charges for a false report to the FBI, shouldn’t Hillary Clinton, DNC, Steele & Co face the same charges for making false claims that lead to the FBI investigation of everything Trump?
But Joy Reid is an America-hating swamp sock puppet, so will the FBI just pat her on the back, right?
MSBNC crank Joy Reid has claimed over and over that her recently discovered homophobic posts were fabricated by internet hackers.
Oh, this just got real interesting. Wonder what little secrets Joy would tell if she was looking at prison time.
REPORT: Joy Reid Could Face Charges For Bringing False Hacking Claim to FBI https://t.co/tHJuMvxIch
— JJ Truth (@1Romans58) April 30, 2018
This was proven wildly incorrect when searches through the Wayback Machine showed all the original homophobic posts in their full glory. Her follow-up to that was the claim that Wayback Machine was hacked and she asked the FBI to investigate. MSNBC has Reid’s back, even though the implausible “I was hacked” lie was pretty hard for anyone to swallow. Reid’s lawyer released the following statement through MSNBC:
“We have received confirmation the FBI has opened an investigation into potential criminal activities surrounding several online accounts, including personal email and blog accounts, belonging to Joy-Ann Reid.”
It almost certainly appears to be the case that Reid and/or MSNBC filed a report with the FBI–and many have suggested this report itself was false. Did they know they were relying on apparently false information when they filed it? Could this qualify as a false statement under 18 USC §1001?
This can get a bit tricky. Section 1001 has a “knowingly and willfully” knowledge requirement. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Manual (USAM), this means, a person making false statements to the FBI must have (1) made a statement deliberately and with knowledge that the statement was being made (taking care of “willfully”); and (2) that the statement was made with some intent to deceive or with some knowledge of its falsity (taking care of “knowingly”).
Here, Reid could have relied upon the Nichols “research” for her own opinion about the once-disputed posts. If she did, that would seemingly defeat a finding that she (or whoever filed the complaint) “knowingly” made false statements to the FBI. But if Reid really did lie about the posts in the first place then she simply used Nichols as a conduit for those lies–and relying on Nichols to launder false accusations wouldn’t really work to Reid’s favor. This is an extremely fact-intensive inquiry–and one precisely suited for a federal investigator.
Additionally, the USAM notes, “A defendant is not relieved of the consequences of a material misrepresentation by lack of knowledge when the means of ascertaining truthfulness are available. In appropriate circumstances, the government may establish the defendant’s knowledge of falsity by proving that the defendant either knew the statement was false or acted with a conscious purpose to avoid learning the truth.”
Here, there’s a very good argument that Reid’s choices (like relying on Nichols) in allegedly attempting to ascertain the truth–again, if this is even what really happened–were actually keyed to obscure the truth. But if it turns out the hacking claims were as false as they appear and if Reid ever fully and eventually admits to their falsity, then any attempt to claim otherwise would be, well, just another misrepresentation.
There is one important caveat.
As noted by Adam H. Johnson, “If you read the lawyer’s statement it never specifies the hacking being investigated was in regards to the anti-gay posts. In fact it strangely does not; just makes vague references to hacking which she could very well have been, at some point, been a victim of.”
Until we see the actual report Reid and/or her people likely filed with the FBI, there’s no way to know for sure. But if Reid, Reichman, Nichols or anyone else at MSNBC did file a report with the FBI over the alleged (now disproven and abandoned) hacking claims viz. those homophobic blog posts, there could be legal trouble ahead.