Two Florida residents pled guilty on Thursday to conspiring to traffic the diary of President Joe Biden’s daughter Ashley, the Department of Justice said.
The charges are the first to come from an FBI investigation into how the journal made it into the hands of James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas prior to the 2020 presidential election.
Aimee Harris, 40, of Palm Beach, and Jonathan Kurlander, 58, of Jupiter, both pled guilty to a charge of conspiracy stemming from their selling of the journal, the US Attorney’s Office in Manhattan said in a statement.
“Harris and Kurlander stole personal property from an immediate family member of a candidate for national political office,” Damian Williams, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement, according to Politico. “They sold the property to an organization in New York for $40,000 and even returned to take more of the victim’s property when asked to do so. Harris and Kurlander sought to profit from their theft of another person’s personal property, and they now stand convicted of a federal felony as a result.”
Both pleaded guilty as part of an agreement with prosecutors. Each face a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison.
Project Veritas said that it paid for the rights to publish the diary but that they never published it because they couldn’t authenticate it.
The FBI obtained search warrants for O’Keefe’s home, along with two of his colleagues. No one has been charged, though O’Keefe has been vocal in his denouncing of the raids and has said that they are an attack on press freedom.
In November of last year, Project Veritas’ O’Keefe released a video explaining what had happened, including details on how they came into contact with a copy of the Biden daughter’s diary.
“Late last year, we were approached by tipsters claiming they had a copy of Ashley Biden’s diary,” said O’Keefe.
“We had never met or heard of the tipsters. The tipsters indicated the diary had been abandoned in a room in which Ms. Biden stayed at the time, and in which the tipsters stayed in temporarily, after Miss Biden departed the room,” he continued. “The tipsters indicated that the diary included explosive allegations against then-candidate Joe Biden.”
O’Keefe stated that the tipsters had also been in negotiations with another media outlet for a sum of money to obtain the diary.
“We investigated the claims provided to us as journalists do. We took steps to corroborate the authenticity of the diary. 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 in any part thereof,” he said.
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