The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) intends to use the guilty plea of two defendants Thursday over the theft of Ashley Biden’s diary to pursue journalist James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas, which reportedly gave the diary to law enforcement in 2020.
On Friday, Robert Kurlander, 58, and Aimee Harris, 40, pleaded guilty to stealing the diary of the presidential daughter, which included claims of inappropriate behavior by President Joe Biden, and conspiring to sell it to Project Veritas for $40,000.
Ashley Biden had reportedly left her diary at the home of a friend before it was sold to Project Veritas. As Breitbart News previously reported, the FBI raided O’Keefe’s private residence in November 2021, looking for clues. O’Keefe said that Project Veritas was not involved in any theft, and obtained the diary legally. He also emphasized that Project Veritas did not publish the contents of the diary, but instead had delivered it to law enforcement. (Portions were published elsewhere.)
The New York Times reported Thursday that Kurlander promised to help the FBI investigate O’Keefe and Project Veritas:
Aimee Harris, 40, and Robert Kurlander, 58, admitted they took part in a conspiracy to transport stolen materials from Florida, where Ms. Biden had been living, to New York, where Project Veritas has its headquarters.
Prosecutors said Mr. Kurlander agreed as part of a plea deal to cooperate with the Justice Department’s investigation into how the diary was acquired by Project Veritas, whose deceptive operations against liberal groups and traditional news organizations made it a favorite of former President Donald J. Trump.
The U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan began the investigation in late October 2020, after it was alerted by Ms. Biden’s lawyers that Project Veritas had demanded an interview with her father about the contents of the diary, which included embarrassing disclosures about them.
First Amendment jurisprudence has established that news organizations cannot be prosecuted just because they publish materials that may have been obtained illegally — as long as they were not involved in the unlawful process of obtaining them.
The key point of contention in the investigation may turn out to be whether Project Veritas was involved in instigating the theft of the diary, or if it simply obtained the diary independently of the process through which it was unlawfully obtained.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.