This is why it’s so hard to report or even follow a fluid situation. While the leader of this nationalist group said Florida shooter Nikolas Cruz belonged to the group, it’s important to remember these people, like ISIS, long to remain in the spotlight and take credit for tragedies.

Of course the media showed its eagerness to show that Cruz belonged to a racist group, but it turns out he never belonged.

Authorities never confirmed a link between Cruz and the nationalist group Republic of Florida (ROF). This is why we at Legal Insurrection never wrote about it. From USA Today:

Hours after news outlets around the nation reported Cruz’s alleged ties, Leon County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Grady Jordan told the Tallahassee Democrat investigative work did not yield any connections.

“We are still doing some work but we have no known ties between the ROF, Jordan Jereb or the Broward shooter,” Jordan said.

The leader of this disgusting group, Jordan Jereb, has a history of seeking out the limelight.

It’s also important to take the Anti-Defemation League (ADL), who reported this information first, with a grain of salt in these situations. When we showed Professor Jacobson the ADL report, he reminded us that just because this leader claimed the ties and the ADL ran with it, doesn’t make it official. He also said you have to be wary of groups claiming credit to get publicity and it’s in the ADL’s interest to promote the right-wing angle while they remain silent when an incident is Islamic related. Of course the ADL is trying to deflect responsibility:

A spokesman for the ADL, which first reported the supposed tie between the ROF and Cruz, told HuffPost on Thursday that “it is for law enforcement to 100% confirm that he was a part of this group.”

“Given what we found today and the timing of the case, there is no doubt the information raises a red flag and should be investigated further,” the spokesman said.

No, maybe you should investigate it further. Or if you really believe that law enforcement should do it then why not pass it to them and let them do JUST THAT before publishing the information. JUST SAYIN.

The Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that last year, Michael Tubbs, a leader of another Florida hate group, described Jereb as a “nut job who should be avoided” and a guy that “never misses a photo op.” HuffPo even noted that “members of an ‘alt-right’ white supremacist forum claimed the entire story was an attention-grab by Jereb, or possibly a hoax aimed at tricking media outlets into pushing a false narrative.”

Those members may have a point because HuffPo wrote that ABC spoke to some of Cruz’s classmates who claimed that he belonged to the group and seen with Jereb. A member of a white supremacist forum “posted screenshots of an ABC reporter messaging a user named ‘Ethan’ on Instagram asking for information about Cruz.” This guy told ABC he attended rallies with ROF and he even saw Cruz speaking with Jereb in person.”

HuffPo reached out to ABC, which did not respond for a comment on how the outlet reported this story or how the reported “verified the identities of Cruz’s former classmates.”

But this isn’t important, right? It’s more important to drive your agenda despite the fact that this man slaughtered 17 people in cold blood. No, political points are WAY more important.

Jereb claimed that Cruz “participated in the group’s paramilitary drills in Tallahassee” and even “carpooled to the training exercises with other members of the group.”

First off, Tallahassee should have been the first clue that Jereb was not telling the truth. As HuffPo points out, Tallahassee is 430 miles away from Parkland, FL.

The Leon County Sheriff’s Office also announced that authorities could not find any connections between Cruz and ROF. HuffPo couldn’t find any instances that Cruz interacted with the group or anyone

Once the lies caught up to him, Jereb was like, “Oh, my bad! We have many guys with the name Nicholas.” Yeah, um, except this guy spells his name Nikolas.