Two Florida residents pleaded guilty to stealing Ashley Biden’s diary and transporting it across state lines, charges that carry up to five years in prison.
Aimee Harris and Jonathan Kurlander stole Biden’s diary in September 2020 from a home in Delray Beach, Florida. They later brought it to New York, where they sold it to Project Veritas. Harris and Kurlander both pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property. In addition to any jail time, both defendants will have to forfeit $20,000 each, totaling the amount for which they sold the diary to Project Veritas.
Guilty pleas for two people who stole Ashley Biden’s diary (among other property) and sold it to Project Veritas https://t.co/kndEAgzE8z
— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) August 25, 2022
Harris first discovered the diary in the Florida home formerly occupied by Biden, according to the federal indictment. She and Kurlander later took the diary and other unidentified items belonging to Biden to a campaign official for former President Donald Trump, although the Trump campaign declined to purchase the items. The official instead recommended that Harris and Kurlander bring them to the FBI, according to the indictment.
Instead, Harris and Kurlander contacted Project Veritas, who flew them to New York and purchased the diary and other items for $40,000. However, both defendants expected Project Veritas to pay more for Biden’s property. (RELATED: ACLU, Journalism Advocacy Groups Come To Defense Of Project Veritas After FBI Raid)
“I’m expecting that they’re gonna pay up to $100,000 each maybe more …. I made it so that the 10,000 is NOT your only payment as it was written and if this does turn into something good or blockbusting then I’ll get us more money. They of course come across as the nicest people in the world but their job is to pay the least and they aren’t your or my best friends. They are in a sketchy business and here they are taking what’s literally a stolen diary and info …. and trying to make a story that will ruin [the Victim’s] [sic] life and try and effect the election,” Kurlander texted Harris of the negotiations, according to the indictment.
Project Veritas denied wrongdoing in a statement.
“Project Veritas’ news gathering was ethical and legal. A journalist’s lawful receipt of material later alleged to be stolen is routine, commonplace, and protected by the First Amendment,” the organization said.
The FBI searched Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe’s apartment in Mamaroneck, New York on Nov. 6, 2021 as part of its investigation into the theft. Government officials seized electronic devices from O’Keefe, including his personal cell phone, although a federal judge ordered them to cease extracting data from the devices. The judge appointed a special master to review O’Keefe’s data.
A federal judge later ruled that The New York Times, the first organization to report on the raid, improperly published an article about the search. Project Veritas accused government officials of leaking information about the raid to NYT, and Veritas is currently suing the outlet for defamation.