A federal judge in New York has given Biden's Justice Department permission to sift through hundreds of files that were seized during the FBI's raid of conservative news organization Project Veritas.
Project Veritas and its founder, James O'Keefe, have not been accused of any crime. But the ruling from U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres in Manhattan means that the DOJ can see the organization's files anyway starting January 5th.
Ashley Biden's diary
O'Keefe and Project Veritas said the purpose of the DOJ's probe is to protect President Biden from embarrassment by suppressing the First Amendment.
“It is impossible to imagine the government investigating an abandoned diary (or perhaps the other belongings left behind with it), had the diary not been written by someone with the last name ‘Biden,’” they wrote.
The diary contained disturbing excerpts in which Ashley described taking showers with her dad that made her uncomfortable. She is the only child of Joe Biden and his second wife Jill Biden.
Ashley Biden left the journal behind (her half-brother Hunter did something similar with a laptop) at the home of a friend in Florida. Two Florida individuals, Aimee Harris and Robert Kurlander, pled guilty months ago to stealing the diary and selling it to Project Veritas for $40,000.
Project Veritas obtained the stolen diary in 2020, but never published its contents after failing to confirm the authenticity. The subsequent crackdown essentially confirmed the diary is real.
The FBI raided the home of O'Keefe and two other journalists in November 2021, seizing 47 devices in all, including two cell phones belonging to O'Keefe and over 1,000 documents.
Project Veritas and O'Keefe - who left the organization he founded this year - have fought the government's efforts to access the evidence on First Amendment grounds, but Judge Torres said the government has an interest in the organization's property because it may shed light on how the diary was stolen, and whether Project Veritas was part of a crime.
“The reporter’s privilege does not prevent the Government from investigating whether a journalist has committed a crime," she wrote.
She said the group has no legitimate interest in protecting sources because the sources in this case pled guilty to theft.
The judge also shot down arguments about attorney-client privilege, citing the "crime-fraud" exception, which applies in cases where communications with a lawyer may be part of a criminal conspiracy.
An attorney for Project Veritas, Jeffrey Lichtman, said the group may appeal the ruling.
“As for the continued investigation, the government isn’t seeking any prison time for either defendant who claims to have stolen the Ashley Biden diary, which speaks volumes in our minds," he said.