A former Democratic candidate for the Florida State House of Representatives has admitted that she lied about being a physician who helped victims of the 2016 mass shooting at Pulse nightclub. Elizabeth McCarthy, a lesbian, is also being fined $3,094.95 for committing the third-degree felony of representing herself as a medical professional without being licensed.
Soon after announcing her candidacy to the State House, McCarthy began telling people that she was a doctor at Orlando Regional Medical Center and had treated 32 patients the night of the Pulse shooting and removed a total of 77 bullets. She described patients being lined up “like an assembly line.”
Local newspaper Florida Politics began an investigation into McCarthy’s claims in June after she had told the story of the Pulse shooting at two different political events being hosted by U.S. Rep. Darren Soto. The newspaper reported that they were not able to verify her claims, which sparked an investigation by the Florida Department of Health.
McCarthy initially balked when questioned about her resume but ultimately announced that she would be remaining in the political race citing the investigation against her as a “smear campaign.” Unable to provide documentation or proof of her claims, however, the Democratic Party withdrew their support of McCarthy and she announced the end of her candidacy at the end of June.
Further maintaining that she was telling the truth, McCarthy, 50, said of the end of her campaign, “After thoughtful contemplation, due to professional obligations, I am withdrawing as a Democratic candidate seeking the nomination and election in Florida House District 28.” She further stated that the scrutiny she was under made it impossible for her to continue.
However, after the Florida Health Department completed their investigation this week, McCarthy admitted she had been lying. According to an affidavit released on Thursday by the Florida Department of Health McCarthy eventually told investigators, “It is a false statement, I just made it up.”
When pressed to explain why she would fabricate a career and story to misguide people of the community, McCarthy said that she was “portraying a life that wasn’t true and wanted to be somebody in the community, and I’m sorry, I’m sorry that I gave any impersonation, I knew it was wrong and I should have stopped, by no means did I ever mean to put anybody in jeopardy.”
McCarthy also made several other unverifiable claims including that she attended Florida State University, the University of Florida, and the University of Central Florida. She further claimed to have played college basketball for two of the schools. None of the colleges could verify that she had ever attended.