Capitol Police Investigating Hoax Emails on Senators’ Deaths

By Alex Pepper

Jul 8, 2010 10:22am

ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe reports: US Capitol Police are investigating a series of hoax emails alerting media outlets about the deaths of senators, a police spokesperson told ABC News today. From Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy, the emails have attempted to trick news outlets into believing that numerous senators have passed away in separate instances last week. Other senators subjected to the hoax included Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, The hoax email about Reid stated, “United States Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) who built a reputation as an independent voice in the Senate and for working with both Democrats and Republicans to find common-sense solutions to the problems facing Nevada and Washington, passed away of lymphoma – a form of cancer – at age 70 on Tuesday, July 6 at 8:46PM EST at his home in Reno. The Democratic Senator, known best for his national security and economic initiatives in the Senate, will be missed by all Americans regardless of their political colors or creed.” In reality, Reid is alive and well, awaiting President Obama’s visit to Nevada later today to help Reid in his re-election bid. Although the emails contain various oddities that could raise a news outlet’s suspicions, some websites did fall for the hoaxes. When that information then started to get passed on via Twitter, the fake news spread even further.  The hoax emails have come at an opportune time for tricksters: Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia died just last week and this week the Senate is on recess, with senators and many of their staff members traveling outside of Washington. -Matthew Jaffe

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