Fact check: Altered image of Bruce Reinhart, Ghislaine Maxwell circulates after FBI search of Mar-A-Lago




  • In Politics
  • 2022-08-12 22:42:36Z
  • By USA TODAY

The claim: An image shows Bruce Reinhart with Ghislaine Maxwell

U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart signed off on a search warrant allowing FBI agents to search former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, on Aug. 8 as part of a federal investigation examining whether Trump illegally removed classified documents from the White House upon leaving office.

Following the search, Politico reported that Reinhart represented several of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein's employees in 2008 as a defense attorney.

Some social media users are circulating an image that purports to show another connection to Epstein - Reinhart sitting alongside Epstein's former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell.

The image, which was shared to Facebook on Aug. 11, shows Maxwell massaging Reinhart's feet as he holds a bottle of bourbon and a pack of Oreos.

"The judge that signed the warrant to raid Mar-a-lago...interesting...isn't that Ghislaine Maxwell???" reads the caption of the post.

The post generated over 800 shares in less than a day. Similar posts have amassed hundreds of interactions on Facebook and Twitter. The image was also aired on Fox News' primetime show "Tucker Carlson Tonight" on Aug. 11 by guest host Brian Kilmeade.

But the image in the post is altered.

The original image shows Maxwell rubbing Epstein's foot, according to several news reports. A photo of Reinhart watching a football game was edited onto the image in place of Epstein.

USA TODAY reached out to the social media users who shared the image for comment.

Fox News referred USA TODAY to Kilmeade's Aug. 12 tweet, in which he wrote that the altered image was a "meme pulled from Twitter" and "wasn't real."

"This depiction never took place & we wanted to make clear that we were showing a meme in jest," Kilmeade said in the tweet.

In this July 2, 2020, file photo, Audrey Strauss, acting U.
In this July 2, 2020, file photo, Audrey Strauss, acting U.  

Image shows Epstein and Maxwell

Maxwell was put on trial in 2021 for her role in luring underage girls to be sexually abused by Epstein. She received a 20-year-sentence in June.

The original image, which shows Maxwell rubbing Epstein's foot, was published by various news outlets, including New York Daily News and BBC News, in 2021 after it was released as evidence in her trial, according to the Associated Press. 

Fact check: Bruce Reinhart, who approved FBI search of Mar-a-Lago, was not appointed by Trump

The image of Reinhart that was edited into the photo of Maxwell and Epstein was shared to his personal Facebook page in 2017, as noted by the Miami Herald. Reinhart wrote in the caption that he was watching a football game on the back patio of his home. No one else is pictured in that image.

The photoshopped image includes the twitter handle @what.i.meme.to.say, which describes itself as a meme and digital art creator. But social media users still believed the image showed Reinhart.

"Curuption (sic) lives in our city or town high level political people take care of others," read one comment.

Another comment reads, "No surprise there, they're ALL CORRUPT!"

Our rating: Altered

Based on our research, we rate ALTERED an image that purports to show Reinhart with Maxwell. The original image shows Maxwell rubbing Epstein's foot, and it was released in 2021 amid her sex-trafficking trial. A 2017 photo of Reinhart watching a football game was edited into the image in the Facebook post in place of Epstein.

Our fact-check sources:

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Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Altered image of Bruce Reinhart, Ghislaine Maxwell circulates

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