Rejection of First Amendment Defense in Project Veritas Legal Battle Over Biden’s Daughter’s Diary

by Chloe Baker
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Project Veritas Biden Diary Case

Legal authorities are poised to review more than 900 documents linked to the supposed theft of a diary owned by President Joe Biden’s daughter, following a court’s dismissal of Project Veritas’ First Amendment defense.

U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres in Manhattan, on Thursday, denied the conservative organization’s claim. Project Veritas’ attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman, announced on Monday that the group is contemplating an appeal. Judge Torres has authorized the release of these documents to investigators by January 5th.

These documents were obtained from raids conducted in November 2021, during which electronic devices were confiscated from the homes of three Project Veritas members. This included two mobile phones from James O’Keefe’s residence, the organization’s founder who was later dismissed.

Project Veritas, established in 2010, positions itself as a journalistic entity, known for undercover operations that have impacted various news organizations, labor groups, and Democratic figures.

James O’Keefe, the then-president of Project Veritas Action, was seen at a news conference on September 1, 2015, in Washington. On December 21, 2023, a judge dismissed the First Amendment claim made by Project Veritas, relating to the alleged theft of the diary. Attorney Lichtman, representing Project Veritas, indicated on December 25 that an appeal against the decision might be pursued.

Project Veritas and O’Keefe’s legal representatives argued that the investigation was more about suppressing media scrutiny of the President’s family than about justice. They emphasized the unlikely scenario of such an investigation if the diary didn’t belong to someone named ‘Biden’.

Judge Torres refuted these First Amendment defenses, highlighting their contradiction with established Supreme Court rulings. She also pointed out that Project Veritas cannot assert protection of a confidential source’s identity, especially after two individuals publicly confessed their guilt in the related case.

These admissions came from Aimee Harris and Robert Kurlander in August 2022, who pleaded guilty to conspiring to transport stolen property across state lines. Both are awaiting sentencing.

Two Florida residents, unaffiliated with Project Veritas, found that Ashley Biden had left a diary and other items at a friend’s house in Delray Beach, Florida. Their initial intention was to sell these items to Donald Trump’s campaign, but they were advised to hand them over to the FBI.

Subsequently, Project Veritas paid $20,000 each to these individuals for the diary and other personal items, including a digital storage card with private family photos, tax documents, clothing, and luggage.

Project Veritas has not been legally charged. The organization maintains that its actions were part of ethical and legal journalism practices.

Two weeks prior, Hannah Giles, Project Veritas’ CEO, resigned, citing an irreparable situation marked by signs of previous illegal activities and financial misconduct. She reported her findings to the relevant law enforcement authorities.

Lichtman, on behalf of Project Veritas and the individuals involved in the raids, commented via email on the ongoing investigation. He noted the government’s lack of pursuit for prison sentences for those admitting to stealing Ashley Biden’s diary, suggesting significant implications in their view.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Project Veritas Biden Diary Case

What was the recent ruling in the Project Veritas case about Biden’s daughter’s diary?

A judge rejected Project Veritas’ First Amendment claim regarding the alleged theft of President Joe Biden’s daughter’s diary, allowing over 900 documents to be released to investigators.

Who is James O’Keefe in the Project Veritas case?

James O’Keefe was the founder of Project Veritas, known for undercover journalism. He was involved in the case and had his electronic devices seized during the November 2021 raids.

What is Project Veritas known for?

Project Veritas is a conservative group established in 2010, recognized for its hidden camera operations that have targeted news outlets, labor organizations, and Democratic politicians.

What did the judge say about Project Veritas’ First Amendment defense?

The judge dismissed Project Veritas’ First Amendment defense, stating it was inconsistent with Supreme Court precedent, and noted the organization couldn’t claim protection of a confidential source’s identity.

What were the outcomes for those who pleaded guilty in relation to the diary?

Aimee Harris and Robert Kurlander, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property related to the diary, are awaiting sentencing.

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