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Elon Musk, new owner of Twitter, tweets unfounded, anti-LGBTQ conspiracy theory about Paul Pelosi attack

Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter, tweeted out a since-deleted, unfounded and anti-LGBTQ conspiracy theory Sunday morning about the attack on the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from a website that has a history of publishing false information.

Musk responded to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she tweeted out an L.A. Times story about how the suspect in the attack on Paul Pelosi, David DePape, spread far-right conspiracy theories.

Clinton tweeted the link to that story along with the message: “The Republican Party and its mouthpieces now regularly spread hate and deranged conspiracy theories. It is shocking, but not surprising, that violence is the result. As citizens, we must hold them accountable for their words and the actions that follow.”

“There is a tiny possibility there might be more to this story than meets the eye,” Musk wrote to Clinton at 8:15 a.m. Sunday morning, linking to a story published on a right-wing website called the Santa Monica Observer that questioned the circumstances of the attack on Pelosi, according to an archived version of the story. (The website was no longer accessible late Sunday morning.)

Musk deleted the tweet by early Sunday afternoon. As of late Sunday morning, it had more than 24,000 retweets and more than 86,000 likes, and was quickly gaining more traction.

The fact-checking website Media Bias/Fact Check rates the Santa Monica Observer as a “questionable source” based on “the routine publication of false and misleading information and the use of poor sources.”

Media Bias/Fact Check said the website’s article on the Pelosi attack “appears to be fake and defamatory.”

Musk did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News.

Officials with the San Francisco Police Department shared with NBC News information that directly contradicts the claims included in the story Musk linked to.

Police said there were only two people — Pelosi and the suspect — at the home at the time of the incident, contradicting information shared at a press conference Friday that suggested a third person might have opened the door or been in the house, which the Santa Monica Observer reported.

Police officials characterized the incident as a “violent break-in” and said that neither Pelosi nor the suspect knew each other prior to the incident, contrary to false claims reported by the Santa Monica Observer.

Police added that zip ties were found at the scene but did not specify how many or the intended purpose for them.

Robert Rueca, public information officer for the San Francisco Police Department, said earlier Sunday that the incident report is not being released at this time due to the ongoing investigation.

The Santa Monica Observer has also published other fake stories that falsely reported that former Secretary Clinton died in the September 11, 2001, attacks and Democrats had been using a body double since then, and that Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, was appointed to a non-existent position in the Department of the Interior under former President Donald Trump.

The publisher of the website, David Ganezer, unsuccessfully ran for Santa Monica City Council in 2010 and 1988, according to the Santa Monica Daily Press. He is currently a registered Republican, voting records show.

Musk’s tweet comes just days after his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter was finalized. Musk has said he will loosen rules about what kind of speech is allowed on the platform. That vow has prompted concerns that the changes could drive users and advertisers from the site.

DePape attacked Pelosi, 82, with a hammer after breaking into their California home early Friday. The suspect was searching for the House speaker, who was in Washington, D.C., at the time, two sources told NBC News.

Police arrived after Pelosi called 911 when the suspect wasn’t looking.

Pelosi suffered a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands, according to Drew Hammill, spokesman for Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He underwent successful surgery and is expected to make a full recovery, Hammill added Friday.

Police said DePape will be charged with attempted homicide, among other charges.

A federal law enforcement source familiar with the investigation told NBC News that the criminal investigation, which is currently being led by the SFPD, is expected to result in state charges against DePape in San Francisco Superior Court as early as Monday or Tuesday. 

Federal investigators are also conducting a parallel investigation to determine whether he will also face any federal charges.

Officials have said they are still working to determine a motive for the attack.

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