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Campaign photo featured fake appearance of 'The Rock'

Posted at 7:54 PM, Jun 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-11 19:54:37-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV/CNN) - Actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is becoming a big factor in a judicial election after a photo showing an incumbent judge next to the star was posted, suggesting that the actor endorsed the candidate.

But it turns out the photo is fake.

“It didn’t look real. It just didn’t look real,” said Tom Letizia, the man behind judicial candidate Cara Campbell’s campaign against incumbent Heidi Almase.

It’s a close race, so what caught Letizia’s attention is that it seemed the opponent was getting a celebrity boost.

“I said, ‘Wow, that’s a great person to know,’” he said of the photo of Almase supposedly posing next to The Rock. He said an endorsement from the actor seemed too good to be true,

“Sometimes, your opponent hands you something that is really stupid, and she did,” said Letizia of Almase. He found an identical photo of Almase, but in that one, she was not standing next to Johnson.

When it was confirmed as a fake, the photo was taken down by Almase’s campaign. Almase told a reporter that her campaign manager knows Johnson and claimed to have received verbal permission from the actor  to alter the photo and include his image. But after she never got written permission, Almase fired her.

“Given her lapse in judgment, in addition to her advice regarding campaign advertising generally, she was immediately terminated,” Almase told reporters.

Despite the controversy, many people have already early-voted, not even knowing what happened. But some who did hear about it are thinking twice of Almase as a judge they want on the bench.  

“I don’t like dishonesty in people, especially  those who are supposed to represent me,” one voter said.

Letizia said it could have an impact on the election.

“Do they feel that this is the kind of behavior that they are willing to accept in our courts, or are they looking for someone to uphold the law?” he said.

Voters head to the polls to elect a new judge on Tuesday. So far, there’s been no comment from The Rock.

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