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Assessing Claims About a Supposed Investigation Into the Former Italian Health Minister
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Assessing Claims About a Supposed Investigation Into the Former Italian Health Minister

There is currently no evidence to suggest Roberto Speranza is on the verge of facing murder charges.

Roberto Speranza on December 17, 2022, in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Simona Granati/Corbis/Getty Images)

Is former Italian Minister of Health Roberto Speranza being investigated for murder in connection to the country’s response to COVID-19? Instagram user Paul Davis, who describes himself as a “God-fearing, freedom-fighting, ultra-MAGA … lawyer for patriots” shared a video making the claim. “Italian Minister of Health under investigation for MURDER for concealing COVID vaccine data from the public!” text in the clip says. “This is how it begins,” Davis’ caption adds. “Nuremberg 2.0. Start building the gallows.”

That said, although there have been a number of complaints filed against Speranza, there is currently no evidence suggesting an investigation is underway.

The claim’s virality in the United States originates from a video tweeted by Infowars’ Alex Jones, which in turn quotes a Substack article by journalist Celia Farber and a tweet from @_aussie17, who claims to be an “Ex-Big Pharma Exec exposing Big Pharma.” An investigation by Lead Stories determined that the story initially emerged in two Italian-language sources in late November—the right-wing newspaper La Verità and the TV program Fuori dal coro—before being picked up by conspiracy-minded U.S. outlets in mid-December.

According to the video shared by Jones, a number of police unions, financial police, and Comitato Ascoltami—a group formed by individuals claiming to have suffered adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccination—filed the legal complaints against Speranza, who served as Minister of Health until October 2022 when current prime minister Giorgia Meloni selected a new cabinet upon her election.

As evidence of an investigation, the video cites a document supposedly showing that Speranza was registered in the Rome prosecutor’s office’s investigative records, though the authenticity of the document is unconfirmed. Roughly similar to a U.S. federal prosecutor, the Italian public prosecutor’s office is tasked with the judiciary’s investigatory responsibilities. State-owned media organization Rai News reported that Speranza’s lawyers claim to have forwarded a complaint filed against Speranza to the Court of Ministers—a special judicial body that handles cases involving members of the Italian government’s cabinet—with a request for dismissal. However, there is no evidence as of yet to suggest that the court has decided to proceed with an investigation, and little-to-no reporting on the claim in Italian press since its initial appearance in November.

Speranza and 18 other Italian officials were previously under investigation by Italian prosecutors in Bergamo for allegedly mishandling early COVID-19 outbreaks in spring 2020, but the case was dismissed in June based on a lack of evidence. The inquiry focused on an alleged failure to implement lockdowns more quickly and the Italian government’s lack of an updated pandemic response plan—but not any attempt to conceal vaccine data. “I always had faith in justice, and today the truth has emerged,” Speranza said in a translated Facebook post following the decision. 

Bergamo—a city close to Milan in Italy’s northern Lombardy region—was home to the West’s first significant, and potentially most deadly, COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020. An aged population—coupled with undetected viral spread during one of the largest matches in the local soccer team’s history—led to vivid images of death and chaos that highlighted the potential dangers to come for other Western countries.

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Alex Demas is a fact checker at The Dispatch and is based in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the company in 2023, he worked in England as a financial journalist and earned his MA in Political Economy at King's College London. When not heroically combating misinformation online, Alex can be found mixing cocktails, watching his beloved soccer team Aston Villa lose a match, or attempting to pet stray cats.