People Tied to Project Veritas Scrutinized in Theft of Diary From Biden’s Daughter

 



The Justice Department searched two locations associated with the conservative group Project Veritas as part of an investigation into how a diary stolen from President Biden’s daughter, Ashley, came to be publicly disclosed a week and a half before the 2020 presidential election, according to people briefed on the matter.

Federal agents in New York conducted the court-ordered searches on Thursday — one in New York City and one in suburban Westchester County — targeting people who had worked with the group and its leader, James O’Keefe, according to two of the people briefed on the events. The investigation is being handled by F.B.I. agents and federal prosecutors in Manhattan who work on public corruption matters, the people said.

After this article was initially published online on Friday, Mr. O’Keefe put out a video confirming that current and former Project Veritas employees had their homes searched on Thursday.

He said the group had recently received a grand jury subpoena and acknowledged that Project Veritas had been involved in discussions with sources about the diary. But he offered a lengthy defense of his group’s handling of the diary, saying that he and his colleagues had been operating as ethical journalists.


“It appears the Southern District of New York now has journalists in their sights for the supposed crime of doing their jobs lawfully and honestly,” Mr. O’Keefe said, referring to federal prosecutors in Manhattan. “Our efforts were the stuff of responsible, ethical journalism and we are in no doubt that Project Veritas acted properly at each and every step.”

Project Veritas did not publish Ms. Biden’s diary, but dozens of handwritten pages from it were posted on a right wing website on Oct. 24, 2020, at a time when President Donald J. Trump was seeking to undermine Mr. Biden’s credibility by portraying his son, Hunter, as engaging in corrupt business dealings. The posting was largely ignored by other conservative outlets and the mainstream media.

The website said it had obtained the diary from a whistle-blower who worked for a media organization that refused to publish a story about it before the election. It claimed to know where the actual diary was located and that the whistle-blower had an audio recording of Ms. Biden admitting it was hers.

The Trump administration Justice Department, then led by Attorney General William P. Barr, opened an investigation into the matter shortly after a representative of the Biden family reported to federal authorities in October 2020 that several of Ms. Biden’s personal items had been stolen in a burglary, according to two people briefed on the matter.

Mr. O’Keefe said in the video that “tipsters” had reached out to Project Veritas in 2020 to alert them to the existence of the diary, saying that they had stayed in a room that Ms. Biden had recently been in. But Mr. O’Keefe said that his group could not authenticate the diary and made an “ethical” decision to not publish it.

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