Viral image – Fake mugshot showing badly bruised Paul Pelosi circulates online

Viral image – Fake mugshot showing badly bruised Paul Pelosi circulates online

A viral image purports to show House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband looking badly bruised in a mugshot snapped following his May arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Napa County authorities released and shared with PolitiFact an authentic mugshot of businessman Paul Pelosi, 82, on June 13. But the image ricocheting around the internet for several days before that — in which Pelosi appears disheveled and with a black eye — is not real. 

“​It’s a complete fake,” said Larry Kamer, a spokesperson for Paul Pelosi.

The fake mugshot appears to have been created using digital editing. Snopes reported that an image of Pelosi from Getty Images was altered to add bruising around his eye, a prison uniform and other distortions to create what looks like a genuine booking photo. 

According to Snopes, the original, unaltered photograph shows Paul Pelosi in a suit beside Nancy Pelosi. It was taken in 2016 at a gala before the Grammy Awards, according to a Getty Images caption.

The first iteration of the fake mugshot PolitiFact could find cropped up June 8 on, a far-right message board. A screenshot of that post spread quickly to Truth Social, former President Donald Trump’s social media app, and the messaging app Telegram, where it was shared among some promoters of the QAnon conspiracy theory. Soon, screenshots of those posts were on Twitter and Facebook.

This PolitiFact illustration shows how a fake Paul Pelosi mugshot spread from the message board to Truth Social and Facebook.

The Facebook posts were flagged as part of the platform’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Paul Pelosi was arrested close to midnight on May 28 after a two-vehicle collision, according to the California Highway Patrol’s collision report, a copy of which was obtained by PolitiFact. The report says Pelosi was driving a 2021 Porsche into an intersection when his car was hit by a 2014 Jeep. The 48-year-old Jeep driver was not arrested and no injuries were reported. 

Pelosi was arrested in connection with driving under the influence and driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher, according to the Napa County Department of Corrections. His court date has been set for Aug. 3, at which time he would be arraigned if charges are filed, per the Napa County District Attorney’s Office. He was released the morning after his arrest. 

Other viral misinformation relating to Pelosi’s arrest claimed that all charges had been dropped. PolitiFact rated this claim False.

We rate this viral image showing a bruised Paul Pelosi False.

Source: PolitiFact.

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