The claim: Image shows Ghislaine Maxwell and Chief Justice John Roberts
Social media users are attempting to link Chief Justice John Roberts to Jeffrey Epstein by sharing a viral photo purporting to show Roberts next to Ghislaine Maxwell, longtime associate of Epstein.
The image allegedly shows the two sitting next to each other on a couch with the caption, “Chief Justice John Roberts and Ghislaine Maxwell.”
“This explains an awful lot!” one user wrote in a version of the claim that appears to have been deleted. Similar versions of the claim have been posted to Facebook by several users with hundreds of shares.
USA TODAY reached out to the users behind the posts for comment.
Photo shows French modeling agent
A reverse Google image search reveals that the man in the photo is French modeling agent Jean-Luc Brunel, not Roberts.
Brunel, a frequent companion of Epstein, was detained on suspicion of sex crimes, the Associated Press reported.
French investigators became interested in Brunel a year ago when Virginia Giuffre, one of the women who accused Epstein of sexual abusing her, alleged that she also had sex with Brunel, USA TODAY reported.
On Friday, U.S. prosecutors said Maxwell should remain in jail and urged a federal judge to reject her proposed $28.5 million bail package, according to Reuters. She faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted at her scheduled trial in July 2021.
Epstein was found dead in a Manhattan jail cell in August 2019. He had pleaded not guilty to charges of drug trafficking and allegedly sexually abusing dozens of underage girls in New York and Florida. His death was ruled a suicide.
Fact check: Viral photo shows protest in Paris, not Oregon
No evidence of link to Epstein
The social media claims follow a series of allegations made by attorney Lin Wood, who criticized Roberts for the Supreme Court’s decision to throw out a bid to overturn presidential election results, Newsweek reported.
Wood suggested in a tweet that Roberts is the “John Roberts” that appears in flight logs from Epstein’s private jet, however, there is no evidence that Epstein and Roberts had any sort of relationship, according to Newsweek.
Fox News Chief White House Correspondent John Roberts also took to Twitter in 2019 to deny ever being on Epstein’s aircraft after being accused of being on the flight logs because of his name.
Our rating: False
The claim that an image shows Chief Justice John Roberts and Ghislaine Maxwell together is FALSE, based on our research. The photo shows French modeling agent Jean-Luc Brunel who was recently arrested on suspicion of sex crimes. There is no evidence that Roberts had ties to Maxwell or Epstein.
Our fact-check sources:
The Canadian, Dec. 18, A former model accuses Jean-Luc Brunel of having turned her towards Epstein
Teller Report, July 3, Maxwell-Epstein, a duo of which Jean-Luc Brunel was never far
The Associated Press, Dec. 18, Model cried ‘tears of joy’ as Jean-Luc Brunel, associate of Jeffrey Epstein taken into custody
USA TODAY, Sept. 11, 2019, French police appeal for victims, witnesses to come forward in Jeffrey Epstein probe
Reuters, Dec. 18, U.S. says Ghislaine Maxwell should stay behind bars, deserves no bail
Newsweek, Dec. 18, QAnon Lawyer Fuels Unproven Link Between Justice Roberts and Jeffrey Epstein
Fox News Chief White House Correspondent John Roberts, Aug. 14, 2019, tweet
USA TODAY, Aug. 10, 2019, Disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, awaiting sex trafficking charges, dead of apparent suicide
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Ghislaine Maxwell, French modeling agent in viral photo