US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi speaks during a Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony in the rotunda of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on December 6, 2022 ( AFP / OLIVIER DOULIERY)

US Navy quashes Nancy Pelosi arrest rumor

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An article claims the US Navy's Judge Advocate General's (JAG) Corps arrested House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on charges of "treason and seditious conspiracy." But the military branch says the allegation is false, and the website that originated the rumor regularly publishes made-up stories under the guise of satire.

"JAG Charges Nancy Pelosi with Treason, Seditious Conspiracy," says a December 3, 2022 headline from Real Raw News.

The article says: "The United States Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps on Friday filed formal charges against former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was arrested Thursday night after attending Biden's lavish State banquet."

Screenshot of a Facebook post taken December 7, 2022

The Navy's JAG Corps is the legal arm of the US military branch. The Army, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marine Corps also have judge advocates, which provide legal assistance in addition to serving as prosecutors and defense counsel during courts-martial.

Pelosi announced on November 18 that she would step down as House speaker, although she will remain a representative for California's 12th District. The congresswoman, who attended a December 1 White House state dinner honoring France, is frequently the subject of online misinformation.

Claims that Pelosi was arrested have circulated on other websites, as well as social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter in multiple languages.

But the allegations, which AFP debunked in Spanish, are false. Kassie Collins, a US Navy information officer, said the rumor is "not true."

There is no mention of Pelosi's supposed arrest on the Defense Department's website. And no credible news outlets have reported any such allegations regarding the House speaker.

Real Raw News has published many fabricated stories debunked by AFP, including baseless arrest allegations, Covid-19 conspiracy theories and other false claims about Pelosi. Social media users often share the articles as if they were true, despite a disclaimer on the website's "About Us" page saying it contains "humor, parody and satire."

Screenshot from Real Raw News taken December 8, 2022

In January 2021, media monitor NewsGuard reviewed Real Raw News and found "stories on the site generally promote conspiracy theories and other debunked claims, including about US politics."

AFP reached out to Pelosi's office for comment, but a response was not forthcoming.