Rumors and conspiracies immediately followed the August 2019 jailhouse suicide of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, among them a Facebook post (archived here) claiming that the coroner who attended Epstein’s death worked for the Clinton Foundation until 2015:
That format of post (a text-based status update) is a well-worn method of spreading falsehoods on Facebook, either inadvertently or with a specific purpose in mind. Text converted to image form with a bright background and big letters is both eye-catching and lacking citations or news links.
As with many previous inaccuracies spread in the same format, the original poster made no effort to provide a source for the conspiracy bait they presented. Similar questionable or outright false rumors had already spread, claiming that widely-published photographs of Epstein on a gurney were falsified, and that cameras “malfunctioned” or were turned off the night he died.
Although the poster did not provide a source for their claims, an undated post on the “satirical” website Taters Gonna Tate published the following item after Epstein’s suicide:
NYC Coroner That Declared Epstein’s Death ‘Suicide’ Was on Clinton Foundation Payroll Until 2015
An independent investigation by credible sources that may or may not be tied to the federal task force to investigate the Clintons has found that the New York City coroner who signed Jeffrey Epstein’s death cerificate was on the Clinton Foundation’s Board of Trustees until 2015.
This report, which is an alleged excerpt from the Foundation’s public filings, has not been doctored at all. It shows clearly that Eric Braverman, the same man who declared Epstein’s death a suicide, made nearly $500K in 2015 for a cushy 45-hour per week job.
After listing off a series of purported coroner’s names in an obvious deliberate falsehood, the site added:
Well if that doesn’t make perfect sense then nothing does.
This piece came with a headline claiming that the New York City coroner in question earned $500,000 annually working for the Clinton Foundation, presumably directly in the service of Hillary and Bill Clinton. Clinton conspiracies are an inexhaustible source of clickbait for the conspiracy theory crowd, and so that particular shibboleth made it to the Facebook post because it implied that the individual was beholden to the Clintons due to high compensation, and was “paid off” to help bury Bill Clinton’s association with Epstein.
An attached image of a spreadsheet labeled “Clinton Foundation” also bore a large “S” and the words “satire rated.” Taters Gonna Tate’s “About Us” page begins by stating that “tatersgonnatate.com is a subsidiary of the ‘America’s Last Line of Defense‘ network of parody, satire, and tomfoolery.” It goes on to explain:
Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined. Any similarities between this site’s pure fantasy and actual people, places, and events are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and satirical. See above if you’re still having an issue with that satire thing.
Its claim that the New York City coroner attending Jeffrey Epstein’s death was previously employed by the Clinton Foundation was false, because by the site’s own admission, everything it publishes is false. Although Last Line of Defense and Taters Gonna Tate clearly display satire warnings and labels across the site, its claims are frequently stripped of those markers when shared in posts like the one embedded above. Because of that, some readers often mistake its claims for legitimate reporting.