WASHINGTON — An online story falsely claims that the U.S. Supreme Court denied former President Barack Obama's appeal of an alleged $400 million restitution order.
The Associated Press previously debunked a similar false story that claimed Obama has been ordered to pay the "restitution" to the United States for money supposedly lost in a transaction with "hard-liners" in Iran. That story said three judges at a West Texas Federal Appeals Court for the 33rd District ordered the payment. There is no such court, and an account on the Daily World Update satire site gave names for people who are not federal judges anywhere.
The website Conservative Nation has a story alleging that the case advanced to the highest court in the land and that Obama lost. It gives the fictitious lower court a slightly different name, the West Texas Federal Probate Court. It names yet another person who is not on the federal bench and quotes a fictitious opinion from him.
The federal government did make a $400 million payment in 2016 to help settle a claim involving military equipment that Iran paid for in the late 1970s. The equipment was never delivered because the Iranian government was overthrown and diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Iran ruptured. Under a 1981 agreement involving a commission at The Hague, the countries agreed to pay claims for property and assets held by the other. Iran paid more than $2.5 billion to U.S. businesses and citizens to resolve claims.
This is part of The Associated Press' ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.