Fact Check

Was Hillary Clinton's Assistant J.W. McGill Found Dead?

A fake news article reported that Hillary Clinton's assistant died under mysterious circumstances.

Published Apr 24, 2017

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Hillary Clinton's assistant J.W. McGill was found dead after suffering an apparent heart attack.

The list of people that Hillary and Bill Clinton have purportedly killed to enhance their political careers grew a little bit longer in April 2017 when the web site geopolitica.ru published an article claiming that Johnston Wilson (J.W.) McGill, an assistant for the former Secretary of State, had died under mysterious circumstances:

Johnston Wilson McGill, 34, was pronounced dead on his couch by a private doctor after suffering an apparent heart attack. It has happened just days after being summoned to appear before Trey Gowdy’s congressional committee to testify about Hillary Clinton’s email server. McGill was one of Clinton's aides. The death was reported hapanned [sic] at her home of “natural causes.”


Does this whole thing seem a little bit odd to anyone else? It feels oddly like we’ve seen things like this happen before to people who could possibly incriminate Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately, as the doctor who pronounced has an impeccable record and is an authorized coroner in new York, the findings will be accepted and entered into public record.

There is no truth to this rumor. Although Geopolitica.ru, this text originally appeared on The Last Line of Defense, an entertainment web site with a penchant for fake news. According to a disclaimer on the web site, all of its content is "satirical":

The Resistance may include information from sources that may or may not be reliable and facts that don’t necessarily exist. All articles should be considered satirical and any and all quotes attributed to actual people complete and total baloney. Pictures that represent actual people should be considered altered and not in any way real.

Although there is no truth to this rumor, conspiracy theorists quickly started spreading the claim that McGill was killed in an attempt to keep Clinton out of jail:

In addition to the satirical origins of this story, we also found several holes in this claim. For one, we found no record of a Johnston Wilson McGill working on Hillary Clinton's staff, or any genuine news reports about his alleged death. Furthermore, Trey Gowdy concluded his investigation into the Benghazi email scandal in July 2016. Although this article does not include a date for the death of the fictional J.W. McGill, the web sites appear to have published the story in March and April of 2017.


Demirjian, Karoun.   "Trey Gowdy defends two-year Benghazi probe that was riddled with partisan conflict."     Washington Post.   28 June 2016.

Demirjian, Karoun.   "Trey Gowdy defends two-year Benghazi probe that was riddled with partisan conflict."     Washington Post.   28 June 2016.

Hicks, Casey.   "Timeline of Hillary Clinton's email scandal."     CNN.   7 November 2016.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.

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