A woman who accused Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel in a series of videos of having an affair with her when she was 17 and forcing her to get an abortion admitted her allegations are false, according to Politico.
"I was paid to say these things. I didn't even know what I was saying," the woman in the videos told Politico in a report Friday. "I'm sorry ... It's fake."
The three videos, initially posted during Israel's 2012 Democratic campaign for sheriff, resurfaced in the wake of the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The accusation is just one of several falsehoods peddled by conspiracy theorists in the wake of the Parkland shooting and other mass shootings. Another was the conspiracy theory that claimed some of the school's students who have been vocal about gun control were actually "crisis actors" who worked for anti-gun groups and travel around the country to the sites of mass shootings.
She asked that Politico keep her identity anonymous because she fears retribution from Internet trolls or the sheriff's office.
The woman said she was 17 when she was was hired by someone through the freelance services website Fiverr to film the videos, according to Politico.
"She has since moved on with her life and has begun a promising career in the health industry," her attorney Yechezkel Rodal said in an email to Politico. "She has never met Scott Israel. ... She deeply regrets the videos and deeply regrets any harm that may have come to Scott Israel as a result."
Her lawyer told Politico she attempted to pull down the videos but was unable to do so.
Israel's campaign also attempted to have the videos removed, Politico reported.
"Now that these bogus, fake videos have been debunked, we would ask that YouTube comply with our previous request (going back to 2012) and take them down!" Israel's campaign manager Amy Rose wrote in statement to Politico. "It's too bad that the young woman who was paid to repeat these lies can't identify the person who paid her to do so."
Google, the parent company of YouTube, told Politico in an email: "YouTube has a built-in privacy complaint process, and we encourage people to let us know if videos or comments on the site violate their privacy. We may remove videos after receiving privacy complaints, which we review on a case-by-case basis."
According to Politico, the sheriff's office has been unable to find the woman or the person who hired her.
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