Hoax Weaves Conspiracy Theories And Taunts Rep. Gabby Giffords, Victims Of Arizona Mass Shooting

Jared Loughner. Source: Wikipedia.

Jared Loughner. Source: Wikipedia.

Jan. 8, 2011, was a horrifying day in U.S. history. It’s the day Jared Lee Loughner shot then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in the head. Grievously wounded, Giffords, remarkably, survived. Six others died in the Tucson attack, including U.S. District Judge John Roll of Arizona.

In this Jan. 9, 2011, story, the Washington Post remembers Christina-Taylor Green, a 9-year-old slain by Loughner, a conspiracy theorist who opened fire at an outdoor constituent event hosted by Giffords in the parking lot of a supermarket. Christina’s granddad, Dallas Green, once was the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies and led the team to a World Series title in 1980.

News circulated yesterday that Loughner had just sued Giffords for $25 million, bizarrely alleging emotional distress. The document painted incredibly wild conspiracy theories. Example: The congresswoman hadn’t really been shot. Instead, she was playing a role she learned by watching Ronald Reagan movies.

Today, however, the filing docketed in Arizona federal court appears to be a hoax. For starters, it had a Philadelphia postmark, according to Tucson News Now. Loughner is detained in Minnesota. Beyond that, the envelope sent to the Arizona court was strikingly similar to one sent earlier this month to federal court in the Eastern District of Michigan.

The Michigan document also had a Philadelphia postmark. It purported to be a lawsuit filed against Uber by Jason Brian Dalton, a former Uber driver accused of a mass shooting in Kalamazoo. This was a hoax carried out by Jonathan Lee Riches, posing as Dalton, according to the Smoking Gun.

If this name seems familiar to you, perhaps it’s because you read it on the PP Blog — on Jan. 28, 2009. Riches, now listed by the Bureau of Prisons as a resident of a Philadelphia halfway house with a May 10 release date from federal custody, is a fraudster and notorious pro se litigant who once tried to enter the Bernard Madoff Ponzi fray.

As a federal prisoner, Riches eventually tried to sue Loughner, alleging that Loughner might “try to kill me for being a moderate Democrat,” according to Above The Law. Now, it seems possible that the man who once filed against Loughner now is posing as the convicted mass murderer.

Judge Roll is memorialized in this bust at the federal courthouse in Tucson. The courthouse in Yuma is named after him and also includes a bust. Image source: Ninth Circuit Public Information Office.

Judge Roll is memorialized in this bust at the federal courthouse in Tucson. The courthouse in Yuma is named after him and also includes a bust. Image source: Ninth Circuit Public Information Office.

The attack on Giffords, Judge Roll, little Christina and the others was one of the most notorious in recent U.S. history. It is sickening to contemplate that they have been subjected to a hoax in which Loughner may be a victim.

If Riches pulled this off, he’d better lay low if he attends any Phillies games this summer. The Philadelphia fans aren’t apt to take kindly to someone who serves up even more pain for the Green family while using Giffords, an American hero, as his target-in-chief.





 

 

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