FACT CHECK: Was A Philadelphia Mob Boss Hired To Produce 300,000 Ballots For Joe Biden?

Varun Hukeri | General Assignment & Analysis Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims a Philadelphia mob boss was hired by President-elect Joe Biden to illegally print 300,000 ballots for the presidential election.

Verdict: False

Local election officials in Philadelphia and Merlino’s attorney have stated the claim is untrue. The claim originated from a website that has a history of publishing misinformation.

Fact Check:

The Facebook user links to an article, titled “EXCLUSIVE: How a Philly mob boss stole the election – and why he may flip on Joe Biden,” that the Buffalo Chronicle published on Nov. 14. The article alleges, citing anonymous sources, that the Biden campaign paid reputed Philadelphia crime boss Joseph “Skinny Joe” Merlino $3 million to mark 300,000 blank ballots for Biden and drop them off at the Philadelphia Convention Center.

The Buffalo Chronicle’s article was tweeted by Jordan Sekulow, the son of one of President Donald Trump’s lawyers, Jay Sekulow. NewsGuard, a company that evaluates the trustworthiness of news websites, reported that the website has previously published misinformation.

There is no evidence to support claims that Merlino manufactured Pennsylvania ballots for Biden during the 2020 election. Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt said in a CNN interview Nov. 11 that the election was secure and referred to fraud claims being spread on social media as “completely ridiculous allegations that have no basis in fact at all.” Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner spokesperson Jane Roh also told Fox News that the claim was not true, saying, “This claim published by a disreputable website has been thoroughly debunked.”

“My client categorically denies all the allegations and Joey would rather die than ever be a snitch,” attorney John Meringolo, who represents Merlino, said in a statement to The New York Daily News. (RELATED: Did Election Workers In Philadelphia Stop Counting Mail-In Ballots On Election Night?)

Merlino has been on supervised release in Florida since late last year, according to Philly Voice. He previously pleaded guilty to illegal betting in 2018 to avoid retrial in racketeering case, The Associated Press reported.

Varun Hukeri

General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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