Does Claude Allen Have An Evil Twin?

Over on, Josh observes a bizarre twist to the case of sticky-fingered White House aide Claude Allen: he may have an evil twin, who used his identity in his scam:

As you know, we’ve been following the bizarre case of Claude Allen, former top advisor to President Bush who was arrested a few days ago and booked and charges stemming from a lengthy shoplifting spree.

Now, here late this evening I got an email from TPM Reader WH who directed my attention to today’s All Things Considered on NPR in which Michele Norris interviews Michael Fletcher, a reporter with the Post who’s been covering the story.

Now, right at about 1:40 into the interview comes this exchange …

Norris: We should note something, Michael. Apparently Claude Allen has a twin brother?

Fletcher: Yes, he does. He has an identical twin brother who even close friends can’t tell them apart when they see them. And people have seen him and close friends say that Mr. Allen has indicated to them that maybe his brother holds the key to this entire puzzling affair.

Now, I take it I’m not reading too much into this to think that the idea here is that this is a case of mistaken identity in which the virtuous Claude Allen has been nailed for the crimes of his evil twin Floyd.

I have to tell you this new story seems so insane and ridiculous that I have suspect it’s actually true. And, no, I’m not entirely kidding. Who could come up with such a story?

Now, through the miracle of the TPM research service, we’ve acquired these two scans of the two brothers from their High School yearbook, senior and junior year …

Now, just to show we’re a good sport about all this and willing to play this out to its inane conclusion, here’s a passage from tomorrow’s piece in the Times

People who talked to Mr. Allen Monday said he remained surprisingly upbeat in the face of the charges. He said only one side of the story had been heard, said one former colleague who asked not to be identified because the conversation was private.

Like others who know him, his stepmother cannot understand the turn of events. “I simply have no idea where things could have gone wrong in his life,” Mrs. Allen said.

Floyd was the twin who “kept running into bad times,” while Claude Allen intervened repeatedly to help him, she said.

In 2001, Floyd Allen declared bankruptcy in Virginia; a year earlier he was ordered to pay $6,450 in a civil suit brought against him by a travel company, according to state and federal records.