Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or any character from the franchise.
The Potter Conspiracy
Chapter 1: Xenophilius Lovegood
Xenophilius "Xeno" Lovegood, editor of the Quibbler, went to the Ministry of Magic to interview Bartemius Crouch, Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement (DMLE) regarding the fate of Sirius Orion Black. "Director Crouch, when will Sirius Black be tried?" Xeno asked.
"There's no need to waste time with the obviously guilty, Mr. Lovegood." Crouch bluntly answered.
"What about the law that says every accused criminal should be allowed a trial?" Xeno asked.
"I can make him wait while I try wizards and witches more likely to be innocent and who cares if I forget to give him his time at the Wizengamot?" Crouch asked. "Black confessed."
"In that case, may I have a copy of the records?" Xeno asked. "A refusal might be taken by some people as a reason to doubt Sirius Black's guilt."
Crouch spent a good time wondering if the comment was a disguised threat but decided there's no harm in showing what made Black's guilt so obvious. "Here it is, Lovegood. Even a conspiracy theorist like you can tell he's obviously guilty."
Amazed how small the file was, Xeno tried to read it right there but Crouch interrupted him. "If you don't mind, I don't have much time before I resume my work so I'll have time for one more question."
"In that case, is it true that Sirius Black is Harry Potter's Godfather?" Xeno asked.
"Unfortunately, yes." Crouch sadly replied.
"Is this part of why you're not allowing Sirius Black a chance to plead his case in a trial?" Xeno asked.
"No comments." Crouch answered with a frown. "Look, I'll have more free time in one hour. If you take this time to read the file, I'll answer whatever questions you still might have."
"Deal." Xeno said and went back home. "How was it with Mr. Crouch, Xeno?" Mrs. Lovegood asked.
"He was more cooperative than I expected, Pandora." He answered. "How's Luna?"
"She's fine, Xeno." Pandora answered. "What's this?" She asked while pointing at the file at her husband's hand.
"It's Sirius Black's file case." Xeno explained. "I'm reading it and will likely get back to ask Crouch follow up questions."
Nearly one hour later, Xeno was questioning Crouch again. "Director Crouch, you said Sirius Black confessed but I find his so-called confession too vague. How can you be so certain it wasn't a mere case of Survivor's Guilt?"
"Headmaster Dumbledore gave testimony to confirm that Black was the Potters' Secret-Keeper." Crouch explained.
"His testimony only confirms that the Potters planned to ask Sirius Black to be the Secret-Keeper." Xeno replied. "How can we tell if he agreed or not?"
"We have several witnesses confirming it after James and Lily Potter were killed." Crouch explained.
"They merely overheard Peter Pettigrew accusing Sirius Black." Xeno argued. "How can you rule out possibilities like Pettigrew being mistaken or Pettigrew being the real Secret-Keeper and intentionally…"
"STOP!" Crouch angrily demanded. "I refuse to listen to someone defaming a martyr! Leave before I have you sent to Azkaban for trying to get a Death Eater out of there."
"Whatever." Xeno replied and left with a frown.
The next day, at Hogwarts, the few students who already read the Quibbler at that point were questioning Sirius Black's guilt until Headmaster Dumbledore's attention was caught by it. He at his office discussing the Slytherins' behavior with their Head of House when Deputy Headmistress Minerva McGonagall showed up. "Albus, have you read today's edition of the Quibbler?" She asked.
"Not yet, Minerva." Dumbledore answered. "Is there any conspiracy theory I should be particularly worried about?"
"You'd better believe so, Albus." She answered like she's talking to a student she'd just caught misbehaving and showed her copy of the Quibbler. "Xenophilius Lovegood is implying that Peter Pettigrew faked his own death and framed Sirius Black, and the Ministry is merely playing along as part of a conspiracy to manipulate Harry Potter."
"Minerva, how could Xeno do something like that?" Dumbledore asked with disappointment.
"He called his readers' attention to the fact that Black, unfortunately, is Harry Potter's Godfather and there's no other wizard or witch available who qualifies as family to the boy as a reason to suspect the Ministry is merely taking advantage of people's 'anti-Black bias' to falsely claim the evidence left no grounds to doubt." She answered.
"Black confessed." Dumbledore said.
At this point, Severus Snape had already read some of Xeno's conspiracy theory. "Lovegood claims the confession was so vague it could have been a mere case of Survivor's Guilt."
"And what about my testimony, Severus?" Dumbledore asked.
"Lovegood uses the fact it's from a conversation you had with the Potters before they asked Black to be their Secret-Keeper to say Black might have refused, Headmaster." Snape said.
"What about the other witnesses?" Dumbledore asked.
"Mr. Lovegood says that, without Peter Pettigrew's reason to believe Sirius Black was the Secret-Keeper, we can't rule out possibilities like Peter being mistaken or being the real Secret-Keeper and having shouted those accusations against Black to mislead the witnesses." McGonagall replied.
"He also says Crouch refused to answer questions about the possibility of Pettigrew being the real traitor." Snape added.
"Xeno should have thought better than to defame a dead man." Dumbledore commented. "That's what I expected from Rita Skeeter."
"The worst part, Albus, is that he twisted the facts about poor Peter's death to make it seem like Peter faked it." McGonagall commented. "There was only a finger left."
"Which Lovegood uses as a reason to suggest the rest of Pettigrew is alive and well." Snape replied.
"But how can Xenophilius accuse the Ministry of playing along?" Dumbledore asked.
"He holds Crouch's refusal to give Black a trial as a reason to suspect foul play, Headmaster." Snape answered.
"What do we do, Albus?" McGonagall desperately asked.
"Nothing." Dumbledore answered. "We'll just maintain our position and ignore this conspiracy theory like we do with Xeno's other theories."
Unfortunately, Bartemius Crouch Senior had other plans. At that very moment, he was reading a history book until he found a picture of Gellert Grindelwald. "Eureka!" He exclaimed. "I knew there was some dark meaning to the symbol I saw Lovegood wearing. That'll teach him a lesson for wanting to free a Death Eater."