The Associated Press was forced to retract a story about Virginia’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe late Wednesday night.
The story had erroneously alleged that McAuliffe was mentioned in an indictment and had lied to a federal official. It turns out that the “T.M.” mentioned in the indictment in question was not Terry McAuliffe.
“The indictment did not identify McAuliffe as the ‘T.M.’ who allegedly lied to investigators,” the AP said in its takedown notice.
The original story, by reporter Bob Lewis, purported that 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 report cited a 2011 indictment against Joseph Caramadre, the now-imprisoned estate planner. McAuliffe invested with Caramadre, according to documents prosecutors submitted to federal court.
In a statement, McAuliffe’s campaign immediately pushed back against the report:
“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 $US27,000 to the American Cancer Society and Terry McAuliffe has donated $US47,000 to the American Cancer Society.”
The story went up on the AP’s Virginia state wire at 9:45 p.m., Paul Colford, an AP spokesman, said in an email. It was retracted an hour and 38 minutes later, at 11:23 p.m.
“That was an hour and 38 minutes too long,” Colford said.
Early Thursday morning on Twitter, Lewis, the reporter who wrote the original story, apologized for his mistake:
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