Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg has been falsely accused of sexually assaulting a 21-year-old university student in a stunt allegedly made up by two right-wing trolls.
The claims surfaced yesterday when Hunter Kelly, a student at Ferris State University in Michigan, appeared to publish a post on Medium that claimed he was sexually assaulted by Buttigieg in February.
Despite that post and a Twitter account under his name that tweeted details of the so-called abuse, Kelly came out hours later to deny ever being sexually assaulted by Buttigieg.
He said the Twitter and Medium accounts bearing his name were fake and that he had nothing to do with the false abuse narrative.
A Republican source told the Daily Beast that conservative lobbyist Jack Burkman and conspiracy theorist Jacob Wohl were behind the fake allegations.
The source accused the right-wing duo of trying to convince several young men to go public with fake sex assault allegations against Buttigieg in recent weeks in a bid to derail with his 2020 campaign.
Kelly said that he had been flown to Washington, D.C., on Sunday night and picked up at the airport by Wohl and Burkman.
During the ride to Burkman’s home, the two men discussed how they must stop Buttigieg.
Kelly says he slept over at Burkman’s house, and when he woke up at 11 a.m., he learned they’d used him name to falsely accuse Buttigieg of assault.
Later, on Facebook, Kelly wrote, “I WAS NOT SEXUALLY ASSAULTED. It’s important for everyone to know that I was not sexually assaulted and would never falsely accuse anyone.”
Burkman claimed on Twitter that Kelly had signed the accusation:
1. Very first thing Hunter Kelly did is sign a statement attesting to his accusation
2. He was in full control of all public disclosures, even taking a selfie with his ID to confirm his identity to @MediumSupport MSM bullied him & his family into submission pic.twitter.com/myXPc1YegL
— Jack Burkman (@Jack_Burkman) April 30, 2019
Kelly responded that he was forced to sign the document and take the picture.
“I had no say in either. In the photo you can clearly see I had been crying,” he said.
Buttigieg, who is openly gay and married, is the mayor of South Bend, Indiana and is a former Navy Reserve officer who served in Afghanistan.
“It’s not going to throw us,” he said in response to the fake allegation. “Politics can be ugly sometimes, but you have to face that when you’re in presidential politics.”
Kelly was not the only man Wohl and Burkman apparently approached with the idea of accusing Buttigieg.
One man, who provided an audio record of his meeting with Wohl, told the Daily Beast that the duo wanted him to accuse Buttigieg “of engaging him sexually while he was too drunk to consent.”
This would not be the first time Wohl has been accused of duping someone into being the face of sexual-assault allegations.
Last fall, a woman told USA Today that Wohl “needed a credible female to put on the line” for false accusations against Robert Mueller.
So he used hers.
Attribution:The Daily Beast