Alison Michelle Ernst, Hillary Clinton shoe thrower: Misinfo in ties to James Holmes case
Last week, Alison Michelle Ernst hurled a shoe at Hillary Clinton while the latter spoke at an event in Las Vegas. Afterward, the press found a tie between Ernst and the case against Aurora theater shooter James Holmes, and it's legit. However, major outlets such as the Associated Press are reporting that Ernst filed bizarre motions in the matter, with one claiming that Holmes had invaded her brain. That's wrong, and we bet the misinformation thrills the real man behind the document: Jonathan Lee Riches. Here's the twisted story.
First, here's a look at the shoe-tossing, as seen in CNN coverage.
Afterward, reporters who've mastered the art of Google discovered that a woman identified as "Allison Michelle Ernst" -- note the different spelling of the first name -- had made a scene at an August 9, 2012 hearing in the theater shooting case. She stood up in the middle of a hearing to declare that she had information vital to the investigation and was promptly escorted out of the room.
Here's a CBS4 report about the court session; the section about Ernst comes just past the two-minute mark.
All good and well at that point -- but the New York Daily News took things a step further, reporting that Ernst had filed a lawsuit against Holmes that stated, among other things, that "james enters my head like dennis quaid in innerspace and he zooms to my heart and plays with it and forces me to care for him. James sent me naked photos of himself in a joker outfit which offends me."
This assertion has circulated far and wide thanks to distribution by the Associated Press, with the info even popping up on a 7News story that's among the most viewed on the station's website at this writing.
Unlike many other outlets, however, the 7News piece makes allusions to suits being filed in the names of others. That's the case with multiple Ernst documents, including one on the Allison Michelle Ernst blogspot that states the following:
Comes Now, Allison Michelle Ernst , moves this honorable court to intevene in the the James Eagan Holmes case for access to all judicial records and to intervene to produce newly discovered withheld evidence. Further , movant intervenes to appeal this courts ruling denying the defendants constitutional right to have they're own experts present as the state examines scientific evidence, which this denial is a violation of confrontation clause James Holmes is a innocent man , James holmes must be released to me asap, this is a huge conspiracy. I am the allison ernst who came to court bald with a red dress. This court and the media must go to " james holmes is innocent " facebook page to look and read about all the evidence which will show James is truly innocent and that the guilty party is philip anschutz who owns half of regal cinemas and Anschutz mind controlled James to go to the theater to knock out Anschutz's competitor. Anschutz is involved with new world order and a group of cabal evil worldwide crooks who want control of the world through false flag attacks akin to george orwell 1984 , where james holmes is now the new emmanuel, and Anschutz's fingerprints are all over this tragic event and he must be investigated. Anschutz also killed michael Jackson. I fear for my life, i can be found in " james holmes is innocent ".
First clue that Ernst didn't file these documents: It's unlikely she would misspell her own first name. Second clue: Both were posted by Jonathan Lee Riches. Let us introduce you.
Continue for more about Alison Michelle Ernst and Jonathan Lee Riches, including photos and documents. On August 31, 2012, as we've reported, Riches, who's from Pennsylvania, was mentioned in 9News' coverage of the theater shooting, with the station noting that the mail of accused killer James Holmes was being forwarded to him -- at least until the U.S. Postal Service determined that the request was fraudulent. The station also stated that "in 2009, Riches reportedly sued the Guinness Book of World Records when he learned they planned to name him the world's most litigious man."
Here's Riches's Facebook response to the station:
After the 18th Judicial District Court, which is handling the Holmes prosecution, released the aforementioned document, as well as Judge William Sylvester's order suggesting that the person behind it undergo a mental-health evaluation, a Reddit user cited the similarities between that document and one posted to a blogspot on August 19 under the name Yeom Pyo Lee.
Who's Yeom Pyo Lee? A register of actions document made public by Judge Sylvester mentioned a filing by a "YPL" -- initials that referenced Lee, who was questioned after the shooting but quickly cleared of involvement. (A University of Colorado student, Lee is said to have known Holmes.) Here's the text:
Comes Now, the intervenor Yeom Pyo Lee with newly discovered withheld evidence in this case and facing imminent danger andf bodily harm moves this court to intervene in this case to tell my side of the story.I am James Holmes friend from school. I demand James Holmes be free, i call court house too, you free James Holmes asap. James Holmes innocent, Police Chief Dan Oates crooked cop. I was at PF Changs China Bistro in Aurora Dan Oates beat me in parking lot wit my cell phone 7/24/2012. took phone and my lo mein. Oates use my phone to call police to threaten itself .Oates told me he illuminati . I scared now, I hide now at South Korean embassy in D.C. .Aurora police corrupt. I am proud member of Facebook group "James Holmes is innocent" .You must come see group. Dan Oates & police have warrant for me arrest.Plant my finger prints on gun at century 16. Oates told me he framed James Holmes for new world order. Must investigate .I want witness protection . I go on nbc today show tell my side of story next week. Dan Oates sleep wit District Attorney Carol Chambers at Aurora Holiday Inn hotel, I have video . i go show on youtube . free james holmes
The person listed as posting the document: Jonathan Lee Riches.
Another register of actions mentioned the Ernst documents, referred to by the initials "A.M.E." -- and in the blogspot post, the address listed for her was the same as the one for Riches, too.
The shtick didn't stop there. Riches's Facebook page described him at the time as a "rogue detective" at the Aurora Police Department who studied at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Among the videos on it in the late summer of 2012 was a clip supposedly showing James Holmes masquerading as Ernst. Here's a screen capture:
Other Holmes-related ephemera on the page included an application for the Aurora City Council, a letter to a local attorney asking him to take Holmes's case and a petition to formally change Riches's name to "James Eagan Holmes."
Given all this material, the idea that Ernst herself had filed the motions in the Holmes case appeared to have been thoroughly debunked. But as the recent reports suggest, misinformation is mighty hard to kill in the Internet age.
Continue to read Riches's application for Aurora City Council, his request to change his name to James Eagan Holmes, his letter to a local attorney and a register of actions document from 2012. Also included: a larger look at Ernst's mug shot and a photo of Jonathan Lee Riches. Jonathan Lee Riches's application for Aurora City Council:
Jonathan Lee Riches's name-change request:
Jonathan Lee Riches's letter to a local attorney:
Register of Actions, August 31-September 6:
Alison Michelle Ernst.
Jonathan Lee Riches.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
More from the Aurora Theater Shooting archive: "James Holmes defense accuses prosecutors of reckless disregard for the truth."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Westword's biggest stories.