Two Florida citizens pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in New York in relation to the theft and sale of Ashley Biden’s journal and other things, according to court papers.
According to the criminal papers, the defendants, Aimee Harris, 40, and Robert Kurlander, 58, planned to steal things from Florida and carry them across state lines in September 2020, when Ashley’s father, Joe Biden was the Democratic nominee for President.
According to the charging complaint, Project Veritas bought the stolen property from Harris, and Jupiter resident Kurlander gave each of them $20,000.
In a statement at the time, Project Veritas CEO James O’Keefe stated that the company had been approached by someone providing it with the Biden journal. However, O’Keefe stated that the organisation opted not to publish the diary’s contents and later passed it over to law authorities after Ashley’s lawyer refused to accept it.
“At the end of the day, we made the ethical decision that because, in part, we could not determine if the diary was real, if the diary in fact belonged to Ashley Biden, or if the contents of the diary occurred, we could not publish the diary and any part thereof,” O’Keefe stated at the time.
Who is James O’Keefe?
James Edward O’Keefe III, born on June 28, 1984, is an American political activist and provocateur who created Project Veritas, a far-right activist group that employs deceptive editing tactics to target mainstream media institutions and progressive organisations.
O’Keefe and Project Veritas have both produced secretly recorded undercover audio and video encounters in academic, governmental, and social service organisations, purporting to show abusive or illegal behaviour by those organisations’ representatives; the recordings are frequently selectively edited to misrepresent the context of the conversations and the subjects’ responses.
O’Keefe first received national attention for his selectively edited video recordings of workers at ACORN offices in 2009, his arrest and misdemeanour guilty plea in 2010 for falsely entering the federal office of then-U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, and the publication of misleading videos of dialogue with two high-ranking, now-former, NPR executives in 2011.
When his films, which were carefully altered to show ACORN staff presumably assisting a couple in criminal planning, were made public, the United States Congress voted to halt funding for the non-profit. The nationwide uproar caused the non-profit to lose the majority of its private funding before inquiries into the recordings revealed no unlawful behaviour. ACORN was on the verge of bankruptcy in March 2010 and had to liquidate or rebrand the majority of its offices.
Also read: Who is Ashley Biden?
The California State Attorney General’s Office and the US Government Accountability Office both produced related investigative reports shortly after. The Attorney General’s Office determined that O’Keefe misrepresented ACORN workers’ behaviour in California and that the workers had not committed any laws. A preliminary investigation by the GAO discovered that ACORN had properly managed federal funds. One of the sacked ACORN employees sued O’Keefe for invasion of privacy; O’Keefe apologised and agreed to pay a $100,000 compensation.
Right-wing and conservative media and interest groups, as well as the radical right, have backed O’Keefe. Andrew Breitbart commissioned him in 2009 with the option of publishing fresh videos exclusively on BigGovernment.
O’Keefe was suspended from Twitter on April 15, 2021, for “operating fake accounts.” On April 19, he sued Twitter in state court in Westchester County, New York, saying that the basis for his suspension was “false and defamatory.”