A new conspiracy is spreading in right-wing circles online, claiming that a spate of suicides within the police corps who responded to the Jan. 6 insurrection appear "suspicious," and may be part of a murky liberal plot with goals that remain unclear.
At least four officers who responded to the riot that day have since committed suicide, according to statements from the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department and Capitol Police.
Howard Liebengood, a 15-year veteran of the Capitol Police, was the first to die by suicide just three days after the Capitol attack, the department said. D.C. Officer Jeffrey Smith also took his own life within a month of the attack.
Two more names were added to that total Monday: Metro Police Officers Gunther Hashida and Kyle deFreytag, according to the department.
Not much information about the men's deaths were shared due to the nature of their passing, but that didn't stop far-right figures from speculating wildly as to the circumstances of their deaths.
Former Trump lawyer and current Newsmax contributor Jenna Ellis became the most prominent booster of the conspiracy Wednesday, tweeting out to her nearly 900,000 followers: "Anyone else find these suicides really suspicious?"
Right-wing site Breitbart headlined its Tuesday story on the latest death: "Mystery Surrounds Latest Police Suicides Linked to January 6: Four Officers Now Dead."
Anti-Muslim activist and failed Florida GOP House candidate Laura Loomer even called Tuesday for Congressional Republicans to open an investigation into the matter.
"Nobody believes 4 of these officers committed suicide," she wrote on Gab. "Republicans are more focused on 'optics' instead of making bold and brave statements, but the American people see this for what it is. Evil and sinister."
More than 100 officers were injured while attempting to control the rioters that breached the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6.
Last week, several officers delivered bracing testimony on their experiences that day to a House select committee investigating the insurrection.
"I was electrocuted again and again and again with a Taser," said Metro Police Officer Michael Fanone, who suffered both a heart attack and a traumatic brain injury from the attack. "I'm sure I was screaming, but I don't think I could even hear my own voice."
Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn also testified that he withstood hours of racist abuse at the hands of the pro-Trump mob, which called him the N-word repeatedly. He later reported crying after returning home following the attack, asking himself, "Is this America?"
If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 (TALK), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.
Frankenstein troubled by monster: Dick Cheney ridiculed after claim he's 'deeply troubled' by today's GOP
Former Vice President Dick Cheney (R-WY) is "deeply troubled" by what he's watching his Republican Party become, his daughter revealed during a speech to the Aspen Institute.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) was shoved out of her leadership position in the House after she refused to support President Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Since then, she has become a pariah in the GOP along with anyone willing to speak out against the former president.
Presumably, that's what led her father to speak out, telling her that he wasn't just "troubled," but "deeply troubled."
It earned mockery from those online because Cheney was among those who built the contemporary GOP and pushed it to radical right-wing extremism.
As one person commented, it's like Frankenstein complaining about the creature he created.
See the comments from folks below:
@dragool6 @thehill We almost went a day without an internet winner and, well, then there was this. Outstanding job!— J. Christopher - historian, philosopher, goofus (@J. Christopher - historian, philosopher, goofus) 1628129694.0
@woodlock_james @thehill In many ways Dick was always part of the problem!— Joan Evatt (@Joan Evatt) 1628127815.0
Whatever bright lines there are, they start at Dick Cheney and everything to the right of him is basically Nazi. https://t.co/264QwgYt3j— Andrew Plewe #ANTIFA (@Andrew Plewe #ANTIFA) 1628134059.0
@DevinCow @MaryLTrump @RealTerryKinney Leaders like Dick Cheney ushered in the Trump movement. He helped create an… https://t.co/m5JXk2gBca— Patti Hernandez (@Patti Hernandez) 1628134145.0
@mayawiley @MaryLTrump @RealTerryKinney It’s the pearl-clutching semifinals.— Jeff "Nazis Suck" Krasner (@Jeff "Nazis Suck" Krasner) 1628134082.0
@MaryLTrump @RealTerryKinney I don't either but I'm pretty sure it involves a joke about shooting somebody in the face.— Sounds Good (@Sounds Good) 1628132876.0
Funny, I was always - and continue to be - deeply troubled by Dick Cheney. https://t.co/0B9xXTjJz0— Daryl Mattson (@Daryl Mattson) 1628133805.0
@MJMcKean Dick Cheney be like https://t.co/4EvghERMrn— Gary Rucker 🎙️ (@Gary Rucker 🎙️) 1628133364.0
@MaryLTrump @RealTerryKinney He’s troubled that they are saying the quiet part out loud.— Sparky MD/PhD (@Sparky MD/PhD) 1628134751.0
@MaryLTrump @RealTerryKinney Maybe he’ll take Kevin McCarthy bird hunting?— Kenny (@Kenny) 1628133415.0
@MaryLTrump @RealTerryKinney Susan Collins is very concerned, I’m sure.— Pleasant Pheasant #EndTheFilibuster! (@Pleasant Pheasant #EndTheFilibuster!) 1628133264.0
@thehill He should offer to take some of the current members of the party on a pheasant hunt…— Merrick Garland’s SCOTUS nomination 🌊 (@Merrick Garland’s SCOTUS nomination 🌊) 1628128965.0
@mattgaetz Imagine how bad things are when you agree with Dick Cheney.— Devils (@Devils) 1628134004.0
@MaryLTrump @jentaub @RealTerryKinney It’s like Susan Collins’ raised eyebrow kind of concerned.— Kappa Strategies (@Kappa Strategies) 1628133301.0
This picture really captures the cosmic, inhuman, cold blooded evil of Dick Cheney. It’s like staring down a carniv… https://t.co/CQxOFNKfRq— Afro-Revolutionist: The Negro Subversive (@Afro-Revolutionist: The Negro Subversive) 1628134210.0
Dick Cheney helped leave the Republican Party in even worse shape in 2009 than now https://t.co/zPaCRxSxsm— Kevin Boyd 🇺🇸 (@Kevin Boyd 🇺🇸) 1628134485.0
@RealTerryKinney @TimOBrien Dick Cheney and GWB lit the match in 2001 that started this fire.— Mr Mojo Risin🦎 (@Mr Mojo Risin🦎) 1628134530.0
@MaryLTrump @RealTerryKinney Darth Vader is unhappy with the direction that the Empire is heading.— Curwin (qurwIn) 🐙🍺☕ (@Curwin (qurwIn) 🐙🍺☕) 1628133148.0
TIL Dick Cheney is still alive and, yet, still irrelevant to the GQP miasma. Plus, if you're not going to show him… https://t.co/kVMQVuNVuP— We can no longer live as rats. We know too much. (@We can no longer live as rats. We know too much.) 1628133680.0
lmao, what do republicans think when even war criminal piece of shit Dick Cheney hates you. https://t.co/1BCmW7z9M2— NorCal Napoleon 🇫🇷🌹 (@NorCal Napoleon 🇫🇷🌹) 1628135417.0
@AshaRangappa_ after exploding a neutron bomb 💣 Dick Cheney is concerned. https://t.co/0OAM2iSDMe— PJaminator 🌊💦🌊 (@PJaminator 🌊💦🌊) 1628135530.0
@AshaRangappa_ @dreamcatchermja When the world has me agreeing with Dick Cheney we have definitely entered the twilight zone.— Dan in the Midwest is VACCINATED! (@Dan in the Midwest is VACCINATED!) 1628135428.0
@thehill Maybe he should take the Former Guy squirrel hunting or somethin' so they can talk about the state of the Republican party.— Truth Integrity Logic Fully Vaccinated (@Truth Integrity Logic Fully Vaccinated) 1628132975.0
A Colorado court ruled Wednesday that pro-Donald Trump lawyers not only lost their class-action lawsuit, but they are also now going to be sanctioned to pay for all of the legal fees for Facebook, Dominion Voting Systems, the states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Wisconsin, and the non-profit Center for Tech and Civic Life.
Speaking about the case on MSNBC, host Lawrence O'Donnell smirked as he explained how amazing the 68-page legal decision was written. O'Donnell particularly enjoyed the point at which the judge shamed the Trump-loving lawyers for claiming something was a "fact" because the former president tweeted it.
But as the legal experts explained, the reason these Trumpy lawyers, Gary D. Fielder and Ernest John Walker, are being forced to pay for the legal fees is due to a Republican-backed bill that was an attempt to end what they called "frivolous lawsuits."
The documentary "Hot Coffee" explores the story of a woman that got a cup of coffee at McDonald's that was so hot that when it spilled on her she sustained third-degree burns that sent her to the hospital. The woman sued the company for millions, which became the story for pro-corporate Republicans who mocked her injuries. The woman never got the millions she requested, but the company was required to pay for her medical bills and other related fees.
There's a political issue in cases like this as well. Corporations tend to support Republicans and trial lawyers, who bring cases against corporations for wrongdoing, tend to give money to Democrats.
"Yet powerful special interests are determined to diminish the rights of individual citizens and the access those citizens have to the court system. By promoting the myth of "frivolous lawsuits," they work to distort our civil justice system and intimidate individuals from exercising their constitutional rights and seeking justice when they are injured or a loved one is killed due to negligence," the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association explained.
Many Republican-led states began passing laws against the s0called "frivolous lawsuits." What that looked like was that if any lawsuit is deemed "frivolous" by a judge, the defendant can petition the court to demand their legal fees be paid for by the petitioner.
What is happening now, however, is that Republicans are the ones behind such lawsuits. As O'Donnell explained, the right-wing lawyers who went after billions of dollars in "damages," now must pay a hefty sum of legal fees for massive corporations like Facebook, as well as states involved in the lawsuits.
A similar case was brought by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) who sued two Twitter accounts that mocked him on the platform. One of the accounts purports to be a cow that belongs to the Nunes family dairy. Nunes is now suing NBC Universal for an MSNBC report from Rachel Maddow that is causing him to suffer "insult, pain, embarrassment, humiliation, mental suffering and injury to his reputation." Despite Nunes living in California and working in Washington, D.C. and Maddow's show being done out of NBC's New York offices, it's being tried in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas.
Virginia, however, doesn't have the kind of laws that Colorado does. But since the Nunes lawsuit, Democrats in the state are pushing an anti-SLAPP law. SLAPP stands for "strategic lawsuits against public participation." They're essentially laws that would protect news organizations, bloggers, and even fake Twitter cows, from being targeted by a thin-skinned California Congressman.
Watch the full discussion from legal experts below:
Stupid stupid Trumpy lawyers www.youtube.com
Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Raw Story Investigates and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.
$95 / year — Just $7.91/month
I want to Support More
$14.99 per month