A journalist who has been credited with reopening the sex trafficking investigation into the late convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein has criticized Fox News for showing a doctored image of the deceased billionaire and his convicted accomplice, Ghislaine Maxwell.
Julie K. Brown of The Miami Herald slammed the network on Twitter on Friday after anchor Brian Kilmeade showed the doctored image featuring Florida federal Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart while filling in for Tucker Carlson on Thursday.
In the image aired by Fox News, which has been defended as a meme shown in “jest” by the host, Reinhart’s face was superimposed over Epstein. The judge signed the warrant authorizing an FBI search of former President Donald Trump‘s Mar-a-Lago residence and has become the subject of furious criticism from some of Trump’s supporters.
“I wish I could say this was a ‘new’ low for @FoxNews,” Brown wrote. “Truly incredible. They photo-shopped a government exhibit (photo of Maxwell & Epstein on a plane) with an obviously fake photo of Reinhart. Here’s the REAL photo.”
Brown shared the original photo showing Epstein and Maxwell, a former socialite who as convicted last year of sex trafficking and other offenses related to her time working with Epstein.
She also shared a tweet from journalist Aaron Rupar that featured a video of Kilmeade showing the doctored image.
However, Fox News did not create the fake image depicting Reinhart and it appears to have been circulating online before its appearance on the network on Thursday.
Kilmeade, who is the co-host of the Fox & Friends morning show, explained on Twitter on Friday that the image was sourced from the social media site.
“Last night while subbing for Tucker Carlson, we showed you an image of Judge Bruce Reinhart w/ Ghislaine Maxwell that was sourced on screen to a meme pulled from Twitter & wasn’t real,” he wrote.
“This depiction never took place & we wanted to make clear that we were showing a meme in jest,” Kilmeade said.
Newsweek has asked Fox News for comment.
Reinhart does have some previous involvement in the Epstein case. He served as as defense counsel for some employees of Epstein, including pilots, a scheduler named Sarah Kellen, and a woman whom some of Epstein’s victims said was his sex slave.
Julie K. Brown is considered to be the woman who brought down Jeffery Epstein through her reporting on his 2008 conviction for procuring a girl under for the prostitution and a so-called “sweetheart” deal reached with prosecutors.
The Miami Herald published a three-part series by Brown in 2018 that ultimately encouraged federal authorities to reopen the probe into Epstein, who died in prison in 2019.