Did Italy start an investigation against the former health minister Roberto Speranza, who held this job during the pandemic, for "murder" in connection with administering COVID-19 vaccines? No, that's not true: No such decision has been made as of December 14, 2023. Articles on the Internet exaggerated the meaning of the complaint the Office of Public Prosecutor had already recommended to dismiss.
Italian Health Minister Under Investigation for Murder for Concealing COVID-19 Vaccine Deaths
'He knew the shots were killing people and gave orders to local health authorities to conceal deaths and serious side effects.'
Here is what the article looked like on the Vigilant News Network at the time of writing:
In mid-December 2023, the claim was quickly shared by multiple English-language websites and social media users, including the conservative talk show host Alex Jones.
The claim originated (archived here) from two Italian-language sources (which La Repubblica summarizes) roughly three weeks before gaining traction on the American segment of the Internet. One was the TV show "Fuori dal Coro," aired on Wednesdays on Pete 4, one of Mediaset's TV channels. Another source was the conservative Italian newspaper La Verità.
Both media outlets largely drew their conclusions from an image of a document allegedly proving that Speranza was added to the registry of suspects at the Rome prosecutor's office. However, it was unclear whether the document was authentic.
Other Italian media organizations specified that this step -- adding anyone to the registry of suspects -- did not automatically indicate the decision to prosecute or that the supposed investigation had already formally started.
La Repubblica (archived here), a moderate Italian daily outlet, cited Speranza's attorney Danilo Leva. On November 23, 2023, he said, as automatically translated from Italian by Google Chrome, that the complaint had already been:
... forwarded to the competent Court of Ministers with a simultaneous request for achieving.
La Republica additionally spelled out:
The prosecutor's office therefore decided not to proceed with the investigation.
Covid investigation, dismissal request for former minister Speranza.
From the procedural point of view, the court of ministers still has to make a formal decision, typically within 90 days. But as of this writing, there were no credible reports sharing updates on the case. A search for Italian keywords across Google News limited to Italian websites (archived here) predominately showed variations of the story in question.
Thus, claiming that there is already an investigation is an exaggeration.
Lead Stories reached out to Speranza's attorney and the Office of Public Prosecutor for additional comments. If we receive responses, this article will be updated as appropriate.
Other Lead Stories fact checks about COVID-19 can be found here.