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Brian Williams accused of embellishing Katrina, Iraq experiences

NBC anchor apologizes for fabricating story

 

Brian Williams now finds himself fighting on two fronts as fresh allegations that he embellished his reporting during Hurricane Katrina have been added to his admission that he repeatedly misspoke about an experience on a helicopter during the Iraq War.

The New Orleans Advocate has called into question two of Williams' assertions from his coverage of the deadly storm in 2005.

The paper said Williams described on-air seeing a body float by his hotel room in the city's French Quarter. However, the Advocate says that area of town was largely unaffected by the flooding.

"We were never wet. It was never wet," Dr. Brobson Lutz, a former city health director who rode out the storm in a trailer set up in the neighborhood, told the paper about the conditions. 

Williams also claimed, in an interview with his "Nightly News" predecessor Tom Brokaw last year, to have contracted dysentery by accidentally ingesting floodwater. Lutz told the Advocate that he did not recall treating or hearing of a single such case during the days and weeks after the storm. 

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Williams, who won a Peabody Award and a Polk Award for his coverage of the hurricane, has come under scrutiny in recent days after apologizing for fabricating parts of a story he had told several times about coming under fire while riding with U.S. troops in a helicopter during the early days of the Iraq War in 2003.

Chris Simeone, 39, is a retired US Army Warrant Officer 4. He was the pilot of Williams’ helicopter. He wrote a first-person account of his time with Williams for the New York Post, and detailed what he said were Williams’ many inaccuracies.

“Brian Williams began to tell the story, from 2003, that the lead aircraft in our flight had received this ground fire. This was not true. Brian Williams then began to give account that the aircraft he was traveling on received this ground fire. This is not true. Brian Williams reported on the David Letterman show that the ‘captain’ of his aircraft had received a Purple Heart for a wound to the ear. I was the pilot in command of the aircraft carrying Brian Williams. I do not have a Purple Heart, and my ears are just fine.”

NBC has not commented after several requests regarding Williams' Iraq experience. A request for comment Friday on the New Orleans Advocate report was not immediately returned.

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