The claim: Trump paid for Chauvin’s legal fees
Shortly after the prosecution and defense rested their cases in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd, an article was circulating claiming former President Donald Trump picked up Chauvin’s legal fees.
Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, is facing murder and manslaughter charges over the death of Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man. He was unarmed when he died May 25, 2020, after Chauvin kneeled on his neck for more than nine minutes.
The claim that Trump is paying Chauvin’s legal fees originated in an April 17 article from americaslastlineofdefense.com — a satire site — headlined, “Trump Picking Up Officer Chauvin’s Legal Fees.”
Some social media users shared the article on Facebook as fact, and one user received criticism in the comments for not realizing the story is satire.
In response, the poster responded writing, “I did not comment on Trump picking up the tab. I commented that no matter the circumstances they are entitled to representation like anyone else.”
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USA TODAY reached out to the Facebook users who shared the article for comment.
Article is satire
While the article’s thumbnail and headline give the impression of an authentic news report, the story comes from America’s Last Line of Defense, a satirical site that publishes fictitious content.
“Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined,” reads the site’s “About Us” page.
The story was filed under “Trump-Adjacent Satire.” The article claims Trump called the “accusations” against Chauvin a “witch hunt,” mocking Trump’s comments in 2019 when the House launched an impeachment inquiry against him.
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Creator of America’s Last Line of Defense, Christopher Blair, previously told USA TODAY that its articles have “zero in common with reality” and they follow one rule, which is “that the piece has to be ridiculous.”
Legal fees paid by Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association
Chauvin’s defense is being funded by the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, which represents more than 10,000 officers around the state.
Brian Peters, the executive director of the police group confirmed to KARE 11-TV that his organization is covering Chauvin’s defense.
He said Chauvin is getting the same treatment as any other member and “we can’t pick and choose which cases we’re going to defend or not defend.”
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All members of the association are entitled to “legal representation in any civil or criminal action brought against him or her arising from any act or omission of the Participant within the scope of his or her employment,” KARE 11 reported.
Our rating: Satire
The claim that Trump is paying Chauvin’s legal fees is SATIRE, based on our research. The claim originated on a satirical website that publishes fictitious stories. Chauvin’s legal fees are being paid by a Minnesota police association’s association defense fund, which all members of the organization are entitled to.
Our fact-check sources:
- America’s Last Line of Defense, accessed April 20, About Us
- America’s Last Line of Defense, April 17, Trump Picking Up Officer Chauvin’s Legal Fees
- USA TODAY, Sept. 24, Trump responds to impeachment inquiry: ‘More breaking news witch hunt garbage’
- USA TODAY, Dec. 15, 2020,Fact check: Fake anti-Christmas quote attributed to Kamala Harris began as satire
- KARE11, April 5, Minnesota Police association, not Minneapolis police union is paying for Chauvin’s defense
- Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, accessed April 20, MPPOA LEGAL DEFENSE FUND
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