Saturday , July 2 2022

Anti-Covid-Vaccine Doctor Pleads Guilty to Capitol Riot Charges

The founder of America’s Frontline Doctors, an activist group known for spreading misinformation and conspiracy theories about the pandemic and Covid vaccines, has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge related to the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 last year.

According to a filing from the Justice Department, the doctor, Simone Gold, stood by as a Capitol Police officer was assaulted and dragged to the ground in front of her. She then entered the Capitol and delivered a speech in the National Statuary Hall denouncing vaccine mandates and lockdowns.

On Thursday, according to the filing, Dr. Gold pleaded guilty to one count of entering a restricted building, which carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a fine of $100,000.

Dr. Gold and America’s Frontline Doctors did not immediately respond to emails requesting comment.

Dr. Gold built a national following through America’s Frontline Doctors, which regularly peddles bogus pandemic claims, including promoting the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a Covid treatment in defiance of medical research and federal guidance. Videos circulated by the group during the pandemic spread rapidly online, boosted by conspiracy groups, often reaching millions of views before social media companies could take them down.

Experts in misinformation have said the charges against Dr. Gold and other anti-Covid-vaccine activists demonstrated the capacity of social media to transmute online grievances about public health measures into instances of real-world violence.

Dr. Gold has over 400,000 followers on Twitter, where she voices her opposition to masking and other pandemic restrictions. Videos by America’s Frontline Doctors have also been promoted and re-shared by former President Donald J. Trump and those in his orbit.

Dr. Gold has said that she is no longer certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine after letting her certification lapse, and states on her group’s website that she chose not to recertify.

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