Pete Buttigieg was falsely accused of sexual assault in a stunt concocted by conspiracy theorist Jacob Wohl
- A 21-year-old college student named Hunter Kelly appeared to publish a Medium post on Monday alleging that South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg had sexually assaulted him earlier this year.
- But Kelly told The Daily Beast later on Monday that he didn't write the post and that the allegations, which didn't include any specifics and are uncorroborated, were made up.
- Separately, an anonymous Republican source told The Daily Beast that conservative lobbyist Jack Burkman and the internet-famous conspiracy theorist Jacob Wohl have attemped to persuade multiple conservative young men to lodge false sexual-asssault allegations against Buttigieg, who is openly gay.
- The source reportedly provided The Daily Beast with an audio recording they say features Burkman and Wohl attempting to convince the source to make false sexual-assault allegations against Buttigieg.
A 21-year-old college student named Hunter Kelly published a Medium post on Monday alleging that South Bend, Indiana, Mayor and 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg had sexually assaulted him earlier this year.
But Kelly told The Daily Beast on Monday that he didn't write the post and that the allegations, which didn't include any specifics and are uncorroborated, were false.Separately, an anonymous Republican source told The Daily Beast that conservative lobbyist Jack Burkman and the internet-famous conspiracy theorist Jacob Wohl have attemped to persuade multiple conservative young men to lodge false sexual asssault allegations against Buttigieg, who is openly gay.
The source reportedly provided the Daily Beast with an audio recording they say features Burkman and Wohl asking him to falsely accuse Buttigieg of engaging with him sexually while the source was drunk, and therefore unable to consent. The news outlet didn't publish the audio in order to protect the identity of the source.
And he wrote in a Monday evening Facebook post, "I WAS NOT SEXUALLY ASSAULTED."
"It's important for everyone to know that I was not sexually assaulted and would never falsely accuse anyone," Kelly wrote. "To keep it brief for now, I was approached by a political figure to come to DC to discuss political situations from the standpoint of a gay Republican. When I arrived they discussed Peter Buttigieg and started talking about how they would be working a campaign against him."He went on: "I went to bed and woke up to a fake Twitter @RealHunterKelly and an article that I in no way endorsed or wrote. I have since left and am working on a formal statement to give to everyone including the Buttigieg family."
Jacob Wohl's father, David Wohl, a criminal-defense attorney, pushed Kelly's allegations on Monday, as did the right-wing website Big League Politics. The elder Wohl later deleted his tweet promoting the Medium post.
Buttigieg dismissed the allegations during a press gaggle in New York on Monday afternoon.
"I'm sure it's not the first time somebody is going to make something up about me," he said. "It's not going to throw us. Politics can be ugly sometimes but you have to face that when you're in presidential politics."
This isn't the first time Wohl has attempted to push false allegations of sexual assault.
The special counsel Robert Mueller's office announced last October that it had learned of plans to pay off women to make up sexual-misconduct accusations against Mueller. Wohl was soon linked to the hoax, which are being investigated by the FBI.
The Daily Beast reported that, in the audio recording, Burkman and Wohl pitched a scenario in which a false accuser would make sexual assault accusations against Buttigieg in a public press conference. They framed the hoax as a way to hurt Buttigieg's ascendant 2020 campaign.The source declined the offer and told the Daily Beast the plot struck him as "the Fyre Festival of political operations."
A week ago Burkman tweeted, "2020 is shaping up to be more exciting than 2016. Looking like it will be Trump vs. Mayor Pete! Get the popcorn ready!"
The source said Burkman and Wohl both introduced themselves using aliases at their meeting in a Washington restaurant. The pair were also associated with a website for a company called Potomac Intelligence Group, purportedly a bicoastal political and corporate intelligence company. The website was taken down soon after the Daily Beast reached out to Burkman and Wohl for comment.