Fox News host Brian Kilmeade on Friday sought to clarify the news organization’s use of a fake image depicting Judge Bruce Reinhart, who signed off on the Mar-a-Lago search warrant, with convicted sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell.
Kilmeade was filling in for “Tucker Carlson Tonight” when the fake image was aired on Fox News. It showed a doctored photo of Reinhart receiving a foot massage from Maxwell.
“So a picture of Bruce Reinhart. This is the judge in charge of the... warrant. We’ll see if he’ll release it next. He likes Oreos and whiskey,” Kilmeade said Thursday night.
Now Kilmeade has released a statement on Twitter, telling viewers he wanted to make sure they were aware it “wasn’t real.”
“Last night while subbing for Tucker Carlson, we showed you an image of Judge Bruce Reinhart w/ Ghislaine Maxwell that was sourced on screen to a meme pulled from Twitter & wasn’t real,” the post said. “This depiction never took place & we wanted to make clear that we were showing a meme in jest.”
Republicans have been heavily critical of Reinhart for signing off on the search warrant. And a barrage of online attacks have flooded right-wing message boards and social media platforms such as 4Chan since Reinhart was identified as the judge who approved the FBI’s warrant to search former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence.
He’s been attacked for serving as a defense attorney representing employees of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, and Reinhart is also facing a deluge of antisemitic attacks and threats online.
Some of this rhetoric has also been targeted at the synagogue he belongs to.
Trump and his allies, without evidence, have suggested the search warrant was politically motivated. Some conservative commentators, including on Fox News, have floated baseless conspiracy theories suggesting FBI agents planted the evidence.