In the movie Swordfish, the antagonist Gabriel Shear states to Senator James Reisman just before executing him that "Thomas Jefferson once shot a man on the White House lawn for Treason".

Is this actually based on facts or is this fabrication by the scriptwriters for dramatic effect? Did Thomas Jefferson really shoot a man for treason?


According to the Jefferson experts at Monticello, no. You can read their response to the claim here. Apart from Swordfish, the only supporting evidence seems to be an Internet post from an untraceable "history professor" who appropriated the name of famous novelist Robert Ludlum.

Realistically, if an American president had ever done such a thing, don't you think you would have heard about it?

(The site that held the "Ludlum" post is gone, but here's a copy courtesy of the Internet archive. Note that no supporting documentation at all is provided, which is not good practice for a historian.)

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