Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe was caught up in a minor scandal Wednesday night when a report from the Associated Press erroneously identified the Democratic nominee as being mentioned in an indictment and saying that he had lied to investigators. The report, first sent out around 9:45 p.m., turned out to be false and the AP retracted the story shortly before 11:30 p.m.
The story, which is still up on some websites with an accompanying disclaimer, claimed that, "Documents in a federal fraud case allege that...Terry McAuliffe lied to a federal official investigating a Rhode Island estate planner now imprisoned for receiving death benefits on annuities secured on terminally ill people without their knowledge."
The documents come from a criminal investigation into Joseph Caramadre, a Rhode Island estate planner, who supposedly stole terminally ill people's identities and used them to illegally obtain their death benefits.
The mistake in the AP's reporting comes from misidentifying a suspect referred to by the initials T.M. as McAuliffe. According to a statement provided to NBC4 Washington by the candidate's campaign:
Terry was one of hundreds of passive investors several years ago and had no idea about the allegations against the defendant - who, at the time, was widely respected by business leaders and elected officials. The allegations are horrible and he never would have invested if he knew he was being deceived. The McAuliffe Campaign has donated $27,000 to the American Cancer Society and Terry McAuliffe has donated $47,000 to the American Cancer Society.
And much like every other time a media mistake happens anywhere, people talked about it on Twitter:
Two possibilities: McAuliffe camp is self-destructing or the AP just did something mind-blowingly irresponsible.— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) October 10, 2013
In fairness to @AP, Terry McAuliffe is the only person in America with the initials T.M.— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) October 10, 2013
haha whoops sorry about that Terry -AP— Alex Pareene (@pareene) October 10, 2013