Who Is Hunter Kelly? New Details On The Man Who Attempted To Frame Pete Buttigieg For Sexual Assault

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Who Is Hunter Kelly? New Details On The Man Who Attempted To Frame Pete Buttigieg For Sexual Assault

South Bend Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg is making history as the first openly gay candidate running for the presidential nomination of a major party. The 37-year-old military veteran has captured the imagination of many voters and he’s seen a steady rise in the polls since the January announcement of his candidacy. However, he has also attracted the attention of notoriously unscrupulous conservative political operatives Jack Burhman and Jacob Wohl. The two first rose to internet infamy when they coerced a woman into making vague — and fake — sexual harassment allegations about Special Counsel Robert Mueller in October 2018. Now they have attempted to entrap a Michigan college student in a scheme to allege that the student was sexually assaulted by Pete Buttigieg. They even went so far as the post to Medium and Twitter in his name but without his permission. Hunter Kelly, the student in question, has taken to the internet to deny the authorship of the posts and to share his interactions with Wohl and Burkman. Who is Hunter Kelly? Read on to learn more.

1. Hunter Kelly

Kelly is a 21-year-old student at Ferris State University in Michigan. According to the website The Heavy,  Kelly graduated from Central High School in Traverse City, Michigan and then attended Ferris State University in Big Rapids, where he graduated in 2018 with a degree in general business and small business management. He’s continued at Ferris State where he is now pursuing a master’s degree in business administration. In old social media posts, he identified his political affiliation as Republican and he is openly gay. He has numerous posts supporting Donald Trump.

Kelly was never sexually assaulted.

2. Wohl and Burkman

Jacob Wohl first gained media attention when he started a hedge fund as a teenager. However, clients complained about the fund and eventually the Arizona Corporation Commission charged Wohl and his companies with 14 counts of securities fraud, including falsely representing investment risks, misrepresenting the amounts of assets managed, and falsely claiming in online advertisements on Craigslist that he, then 18, and his partner, then 27, had "over 35 years flipping homes”. He is no longer allowed to trade on the markets. Burkman is a Georgetown University-educated lawyer whose peak achievement was a 2014 protest against the Dallas Cowboys for putting openly gay player Michael Sam on their practice squad.

Wohl is banned from trading.

RELATED: Who Is Jack Burkman? New Details About The Republican Lobbyist Accusing Robert Mueller Of Sexual Harassment

3. Framing Mueller

In October of 2018, Wohl and Burkman hatched a scheme to find a woman to make false accusations against Mueller, in the hopes of discrediting him and his investigation into the potential misconduct by Donald Trump. On October 30th, Wohl used his Twitter account to tease a scandal about Mueller and announced a press conference for the next day. At the conference, Burkman and Wohl alleged that a woman named Carolyn Cass had approached them with credible allegations about being assaulted by Mueller in a New York hotel room in 2010. Cass did not appear at the press conference, despite promises that she would be there. Their story fell completely apart when a Washington Post article from 2010 demonstrated that Mueller had been serving jury duty in DC on the date of the alleged assault. Burkman’s fly was down for the duration of the conference. 

In February, Cass spoke with USA Today and revealed that she contacted Wohl for some investigative work and he later hired her to work for his firm. He then used her name in the false allegation scheme without her knowledge or permission. Further reporting revealed that throughout October 2018, a number of journalists received emails from a person calling themselves Lorraine Parsons saying that Jack Burkman and Wohl’s firm Surefire Intelligence had approached her about making false allegations of sexual misconduct on Robert Mueller. Because neither her story not her identity could be verified, no reporters moved forward with the story. Around the same time, a law professor in Vermont was contacted by Wohl offering to pay her to talk about her past encounters with Mueller. She had never met Mueller and contacted the Office of the Special Counsel to report the call. The OSC referred the matter to further investigation by the FBI.

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Burkman and Wohl were laughingstocks after their October press conference

4. Framing Buttigieg

Despite the unmitigated failure of their previous scheme to frame an innocent man for their own political motives, they decided to try again and this time focused on presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, whom Burkman feels certain could topple Trump in re-election. Buttigieg is currently polling at 7% among Democrats, according to a recent CNN poll, trailing the frontrunner Joe Biden by 32 points.

According to reporting by the Daily Beast, Wohl and Burkman, using aliases, contacted Kelly and invited him to DC to discuss their plans, which included framing Buttigieg. According to a statement Kelly made on Facebook: "…I was approached by a political figure to come to DC to discuss political situations from the standpoint of a gay Republican. When I arrived they discussed Peter Buttigieg and started talking about how they would be working a campaign against him.” Once there, Kelly says the pair showed him a pre-drafted statement with the assault allegations in it and suggested he say it happened to him. They went on to post the statement online without his permission. Kelly recorded the entire conversation and provided the audio to the Daily Beast. They hired experts to verify that the recording was Wohl. Kelly says that after the conversation, in which he did not agree to participate in the scheme: “I went to bed and woke up to a fake Twitter @RealHunterKelly and an article that I in no way endorsed or wrote. I...am working on a formal statement to give to everyone including the Buttigieg family.”

Kelly denies all claims.

RELATED: Who Is Kelli Tennant? New Details About Journalist Accusing NBA Coach Luke Walton Of Sexually Assaulting Her

5. Buttigieg response

When Buttegieg was asked about the allegations, he confirmed that they are entirely made up. He told reporters, “It's not going to throw us. Politics can be ugly sometimes but you have to face that when you're in presidential politics.”

The Daily Beast broke the story.

At this time Jack Burkman is stll trying to push his version of the events on Twitter

Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.