FACT CHECK: Did Donald Trump Author An Indictment Accusing Amy Coney Barrett Of ‘High Crimes And Misdemeanors’?
A post shared on Facebook claims former President Donald Trump on his last full day in office authored a sealed indictment of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett that charged her with “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
There is no evidence Barrett faces charges of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Prosecutors seek indictments, which are then issued by grand juries. The claim stems from a website that has published misinformation in the past.
Trump in September 2020 nominated Barrett to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. The Senate confirmed Barrett in late October, making her the fifth woman and third Trump nominee to serve on the court, according to The New York Times.
In recent days, multiple Facebook users have been sharing posts alleging Trump authored or co-authored an indictment against Barrett. (RELATED: Did Amy Coney Barrett Say That ‘White People Are God’s Chosen Ones’?)
“JUST IN: Trump Authors Sealed Indictment on SCJ Amy Coney Barrett,” reads the post in part. “On his last day in the White House, January 19, Donald J. Trump co-authored a flurry of sealed indictments, one of which charges Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett with high crimes and misdemeanors against America and its people, said a former USDOJ employee who helped Trump and then-acting AG Jeffrey Rosen research casework.”
The post goes on to claim Trump decided to indict Barrett because her supposed “betrayal to both him and the U.S Constitution could not go unpunished.” It mentions the date Oct. 28, 2020, in connection to Republican Party of Pennsylvania v. Kathy Boockvar, Secretary of Pennsylvania, et al, a legal case about whether Pennsylvania absentee ballots received after Election Day could be counted. On that date last year, the Supreme Court denied a motion to “expedite consideration of the petition for writ of certiorari” for the case, with Barrett not participating in the consideration or decision of the motion, according to the Supreme Court order.
Check Your Fact found no evidence to suggest the indictment against Barrett described in the Facebook post exists. Her name does not appear on the Public Access to Court Electronic Records website, a database of federal court cases. Major media outlets have not reported on the alleged indictment. It would also likely prompt a statement from the Supreme Court, yet one hasn’t been put out.
An indictment “formally charges a person with a criminal offense” and “enables a government prosecution of a suspected criminal actor for the offenses charged” in it, Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute explains. Prosecutors decide whether to seek an indictment after studying the “information from investigators and the information they gather from talking to the individuals involved” and present evidence to grand juries, which then vote on “whether they believe that enough evidence exists to charge the person with a crime,” according to the Department of Justice website. Grand juries issue indictments, not presidents.
The Facebook post appears to have lifted its claim from a March 27 article published by Real Raw News, a website that has spread misinformation in the past. Check Your Fact recently debunked a claim originating from the website that alleged U.S. Special Forces arrested John Podesta, a former White House chief of staff, and Huma Abedin, a former aide to Hillary Clinton, on Easter Sunday.