Rumor Mill: Obama Indicted by Federal Court?

Social media lit up in January 2013 with "news" that President Obama has been indicted by a federal court. We'll take a look at this rumor and the possibility that it may or may not be real.

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It is a hoax.

The rumor began on January 25, with a video of political activist Lyndon Larouche stating that he had seen a report containing “indictments” against President Obama.

He began by saying, “I never have seen in my life such a parade of implicit indictments of a President of the United States.” He later stated that he would not comment on the details of the report, but that it came as a “blessing.”

“This is probably the greatest indictment of an incumbent President of the United States that I’ve ever heard,” Larouche continued. “Such a counter to the President’s behavior has been stated public by a Federal Court.”

Can a Sitting President be Indicted?

Larouche’s comments begs the question of whether a sitting President can even be indicted. The Department of Justice has addressed this question on two occasions, first in 1973 in the wake of the Nixon Watergate scandal, and again in 2000 following the Clinton-Lewinsky saga. Their report dated October 16, 2000 summarizes this question the following manner:

In 1973, the Department concluded that the indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting President would impermissibly undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions. We have been asked to summarize and review the analysis provided in support of that conclusion, and to consider whether any subsequent developments in the law lead us today to reconsider and modify or disavow that determination. We believe that the conclusion reached by the Department in 1973 still represents the best interpretation of the Constitution.

Citizen’s Grand Jury

There is a “citizen’s grand jury” which has “charges” levied against the President. A “citizen’s grand jury” however has no legal authority or power. In this case, it is constructed from private citizens who wish to make a political statement. Anyone can form such a “jury” and charge whomever they wish.

Weekly World News

Supermarket tabloid Weekly World News ran a story which added fuel to the Obama story.  Their article begins, “On Monday March 11, 2013, Congress is reportedly beginning impeachment proceedings against Barack Obama.” This, of course, is the same tabloid that has published the infamous bat-boy photo, and had photos of world leaders on vacation with aliens. Hardly a reputable news source, yet this article is being passed around social media without citing the source from which it came.

Bottom Line

The rumor lacks details or corroboration by major news sources, Federal Courts, Eric Holder’s office, or any other official entity. And over a year after this article was originally posted, there are still no charges to be seen.


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  • terry the censor

    Oy, how could nutbar conspiracy monger Lyndon Larouche be a source for anything? Calling him a “political activist” is like calling a serial killer a “people person.”

  • Steve

    Lyndon Larouche may indeed be a nutbar conspiracy monger, but just because he’s insane doesn’t mean that everything he says is false.

    The question still stands, ‘Has Obama been indicted?’ How can we get an answer to this? He traditionally ignores stuff that is inconvenient, true or not. And the standard media lapdogs are not going to publish anything that could be embarrassing to the president.

  • Timothy Campbell

    If Lyndon Larouche is going to make unsubstantiated allegations, shouldn’t he at least gesture meaningfully with a piece of paper like Joseph McCarthy did?

    P.S. When I attempted to view the video linked in the article’s second paragraph, Google Chrome displayed this message:

    The Website Ahead Contains Malware! Google Chrome has blocked access to for now.

  • waffles

    That is not a “real” grand jury. A “citizen’s grand jury” is non-actionable, non-binding, and has no authority whatsoever. In fact anyone can create a citizen’s grand jury and bring “charges” up against anyone.

    • fpica

      Absolutely correct, waffles. A citizen’s grand jury has no legal power or authority.

      • Sam

        We’re not talking about the “citizen’s grand jury” in Florida, I wanna know about the FEDERAL one…the ones who have legal power and authority.

  • Jim

    I’m fairly certain that it takes a grand jury to hand down an indictment. A court can issue a warrant or subpoena as I recall.

  • KBroz


    I beg to differ – all court documents set forth before the court(no matter what level) asking for ruling/judgement will be set an OFFICIAL CASE/DOCKET NUMBER as well as time stamp of acceptance.

    This may be a document being prepared for submission; but I find that unlikely as there is PUBLIC RECORD of it prior to official placement in any judicial system.

    Please note this is personal opinion from personal experience.
    Thank you.

  • Rowland

    I dont see any proof, thus i wont make a decision if its true or not. What leaves it open for me is the media is not reporting that the US Supreme Court is hearing testimony of a former Social Security worker claiming she has proof Obama uses a fake SS number and was born in indonesia on Feb 15, 2013.

  • Anonymous American

    what a huge lie about citizens Grand Jury! It is in OUR power to do what it takes as Sovereign Americans to keep the ENTIRE Government in check. They only have power we give to them. READ YOUR CONSTITUTION AGAIN PEOPLE OF THE MEDIA. Do you want a political statement? A whole lot of Americans are fed up with the current situation of the USA. It’s high time we abolish the FED and get back to the usA.

    • Mase

      We give them power by electing them, we take the power away by not re electing them. citizen grand jurys are useless.

  • waffles

    That is more of a “birther” story than an “indictment” story. In the case of the link above, the petition for a stay was simply scheduled for a conference of full court. It has been suggested that this is being done to actually prevent further procedures on the matter. As the Supreme Court procedures state:

    If a Justice acts alone to deny an application, a petitioner may renew the application to any other Justice of his or her choice, and theoretically can continue until a majority of the Court has denied the application. In practice, renewed applications usually are referred to the full Court to avoid such a prolonged procedure.

    Thus, a denial by the full court should prevent endless re-filings.

  • Houston

    LaRouche was a presidential candidate eight times between 1976 to 2004, running once for his own U.S. Labor Party and campaigning seven times for the Democratic Party nomination. He was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment in 1988 for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and tax code violations, and was released in 1994 on parole. Ramsey Clark, who was LaRouche’s chief appellate attorney and a former U.S. Attorney General, said that LaRouche was denied a fair trial. The Court of Appeals unanimously rejected the appeal.[2]

  • AZrebel

    Charges did come out of that indictment. Jay Carney even responded in a WH press conference. It has been suppressed so that when someone brings it up they can just be written off as a conspiracy but.

    • waffles

      Do you have any sources?