Project Veritas released documents Tuesday accusing the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) of using multiple secret orders to compel Microsoft Corporation to hand over eight Project Veritas journalists’ privileged communications and contacts.
The outlet claimed it was subjected to a sixteen-month spying operation where the DOJ was reportedly granted seven secret orders, warrants, and subpoenas from six judges within the Southern District of New York (SDNY) to force Microsoft to hand over constitutionally protected information without disclosing the orders to the journalists.
BREAKING VIDEO: Unconstitutional Pre-Dawn FBI Raid on Project Veritas Journalist Shows Armed Agents Clutching Weapons, Tossing Belongings, and Ransacking Home at Direction of Biden DOJ
— Lara Logan (@laralogan) March 15, 2022
“Project Veritas has just obtained documents showing the SDNY was spying on Project Veritas journalists well before the FBI raided the homes of our journalists last November, secretly reading our emails, concealing that from a court in our case against the SDNY,” alleged Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe in a video. “This is a fundamental intolerable abridgment of the First Amendment by the Department of Justice.”
U.S. District Court Judge Analisa Torres ruled in December 2021 that Project Veritas was entitled to constitutionally protected “journalist privileges” that allow for a special master to be appointed to review materials seized by the FBI during reported raids against them. (RELATED: Project Veritas Scores Big Legal Win In Biden Diary Case)
“The documents further reveal the DOJ then went behind U.S. District Court Judge, Analisa Torres’, back to obtain extensions on the gag-orders on Microsoft from magistrate judges after Judge Torres ruled Project Veritas was entitled to ‘journalistic privileges,'” according to Project Veritas.
BREAKING: DOJ Spied on Journalists’ Emails Via Sealed Search Warrants & Non-Disclosure Orders
— Lara Logan (@laralogan) March 22, 2022
In connection to President Joe Biden’s daughter’s recovered diary, the FBI reportedly raided the homes of Project Veritas journalists in November 2021, seizing 47 electronic devices despite the outlet’s decision to hand the diary over to police without publishing the contents.
Judge Torres ordered the SDNY to pause its review of the 47 devices the FBI seized and handed over the confiscated material to a special master tasked with reviewing the material to protect their First Amendment and journalistic privileges, O’Keefe said in the video.
Except the SDNY had reportedly been surveilling O’Keefe and other Project Veritas journalists between November 2020 and April 2021 through secret warrants, orders and subpoenas designed to “surreptitiously” collect their privileged communications and contacts, O’Keefe said.
Calli Law, the law office representing Project Veritas, filed a motion Tuesday demanding the DOJ respond to allegations it “engaged in covert spying” of their journalists “by secretly demanding production of our protective materials from any other businesses like Microsoft,” O’Keefe announced.
“In pursuit of their investigation into President Biden’s adult daughter’s abandoned diary and personal belongings, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, and Assistant United States Attorneys Robert Sobelman, Mitzi Steiner, and Jacqueline Kelly have proceeded with total disregard for the First Amendment and with the utmost hostility towards the free press,” the motion stated.
Project Veritas journalists’ privileges were violated when the federal government failed to disclose that it had already obtained 150,000 documents of privileged materials from Microsoft, according to the motion.
“We suspect that the government also withheld this information from Magistrate Judge Cave, from whom it obtained the search warrants to seize journalists’ electronic devices (although we cannot know, as the search warrant affidavits remain unjustifiably sealed at the time of this filing),” the motion stated.
“These abuses of power must not go unpunished,” the motion added. “The free press must not go unprotected.”
Project Veritas’ motion seeks to stop the SDNY’s review of their 150,000 documents, including communications and donor information not related to the Biden diary.
“As far as we know, federal law enforcement has never before investigated an abandoned diary,” said O’Keefe. “The documents collected from these email accounts date back as far as January 2020, eight months before we even knew the diary existed.”