Rumours are spreading online that claim Ghislaine Maxwell, the former girlfriend of Jeremy Epstein who was arrested on charges related to the enticement of minors, has tested positive for COVID-19 while in jail awaiting extradition.
The rumours appear to tie into a conspiracy that predicts that Maxwell will be murdered while in prison and that it will be made to appear like an accident or suicide. Such conspiracies gained traction after Epstein himself died while in prison, reportedly by suicide, with many theorists online claiming he was silenced by someone who personally knew the financier.
However, the claims that Maxwell has contracted COVID-19 are false, and derive from a story on the Brown Valley Observer, dated July 3rd 2020, which reads in part –
An official report from the United States Department of Justice indicates that socialite and alleged Jeffrey Epstein co-conspirator Ghislaine Maxwell has tested positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in New Hampshire while awaiting extradition to New York.
“Once she was in custody and began to relax, officials noticed that she was displaying symptoms related to coronavirus including watery eyes, cough, and mucus. She stood to be tested regardless of symptoms while in custody, but her symptoms and the profile of this particular case caused local officials to speed up the testing practice,” a release from the US Department of Justice stated.
However that website does not publish genuine news. Despite appearing like a real news website and penning articles in a similar way that one would expect to see on a news website, the stories on the site are typically works of fiction.
The website has an About Us section that facetiously labels its content as satire, despite there being no obvious satirical element to much of the content on the site. It reads in part –
This is an entertainment website written to satirize news events, politics, and popular faces and ideas, and to provide commentary on social attitudes and trends.
Brown Valley Observer is one of many sites that describes itself as an “entertainment” or “satire” website, but its content seems more focused on tricking visitors into believing the content is genuine as opposed to entertaining readers, which is the typical goal of mainstream satire. We often refer to such websites as spoof news, junk news or fauxtire.
There has been no mention from reputable sources inside the prison that claim Maxwell has contracted COVID-19, nor has it been reported on any mainstream media websites. As such, we rank this claim as false.