Fact Check: JAG Did NOT Convict Oprah Winfrey, Did NOT Sentence Her To Death

Fact Check

  • by: Madison Dapcevich
Fact Check: JAG Did NOT Convict Oprah Winfrey, Did NOT Sentence Her To Death JAG Denied

Was former talk show host Oprah Winfrey convicted by the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps and sentenced to death? No, that's not true: The claim appeared in an article on a website that regularly publishes fabricated content, and as Lead Stories previously reported, there is no evidence that Winfrey was ever detained in Guantanamo Bay as the same website claimed in an earlier post. The Office of the Secretary of Defense told Lead Stories that any such claims are "not true."

The claim originated in an article published by Real Raw News on February 16, 2024, (archived here) titled, "JAG Convicts Oprah Winfrey, Sentences to Death." It opened:

The U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps and Office of Military Commissions last week convicted Oprah Winfrey of accessory to mass murder and ultimately decreed that she get hanged by the neck until dead for abetting Deep State criminals and contributing to malicious loss of life during last summer's Maui inferno.

As reported previously, JAG investigators apprehended Winfrey on December 3, 2023, while she was in Los Angeles to visit friend and fellow television personality Gayle King, a broadcast journalist for CBS News...

Shortly after that, JAG shipped Winfrey to Guantanamo Bay, where they held her in pretrial confinement until the commencement of her military tribunal last Tuesday, February 6.

Below is how the post appeared at the time of this publication:

image (1).png(Source: Real Raw News screenshot taken Mon Feb 16 16:41:00 UTC 2024)

The article claims that Winfrey was arrested by U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General (JAG) investigators on December 3, 2023, and sentenced to death after a military tribunal on February 6, 2024. Lead Stories debunked the Real Raw News claim of Winfrey being arrested.

"This is not true," Cmdr. Tim Gorman of the Office of the Secretary of Defense wrote in an email to Lead Stories received on February 19, 2024.

A Google News search of "JAG Convicts Oprah Winfrey AND arrested AND Guantanamo Bay AND sentenced to death February 6, 2024" (archived here) did not result in any relevant articles that could corroborate this claim. A search for "Oprah Winfrey arrested sentenced to death on February 6, 2024" (archived here) on the U.S. Navy JAG website produced no results.

At the time of writing, Winfrey's latest social media posts were on February 8, 2024, on her verified Instagram (archived here) and on February 18, 2024, on her verified Facebook account (archived here).

As Lead Stories previously reported, under the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, the U.S. military cannot arrest civilians. However, this act can be nullified under certain circumstances if the U.S. Congress proposes an act or if the U.S. Constitution has authorized it. Congress.gov (archived here) shows there is no act authorizing the arrest of Winfrey.

We have contacted Winfrey's representation and will update this article when a relevant response is received.

Additional Lead Stories fact checks that mention the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps are here.

Real Raw News

Real Raw News has a long history of publishing false claims in mock news stories, many of them about convictions and executions of various public figures at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. For example, the site reported former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was hanged (she wasn't); former White House Chief of Staff John Podesta was executed (he wasn't); and "the military" convicted former Attorney General William Barr on charges of treason (it didn't).

The website for Real Raw News includes a disclaimer that declares the site does not stand by the contents of the stories, calling them entertainment. Specifically, it says:

Information on this website is for informational and educational and entertainment purposes. ... We have included this disclaimer for our protection, on the advice on legal counsel.

Real Raw snip.jpg

(Source: RealRawNews.com screenshot taken Tue Aug 3 16:39:48 UTC 2021)

Lead Stories has covered claims published by Real Raw News in the past. Previous Lead Stories debunks of Real Raw News items are collected here.

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  Madison Dapcevich

Raised on an island in southeast Alaska, Madison grew up a perpetually curious tidepooler and has used that love of science and innovation in her now full-time role as a science reporter for the fact-checking publication Lead Stories.

Read more about or contact Madison Dapcevich

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