Two pleaded guilty to stealing Ashley Biden’s diary and selling it to Project Veritas for $40,000.

Top line

Two Florida residents who stole a memoir from President Joe Biden’s daughter Ashley have been charged with federal crimes for stealing and later selling the contents to Project Veritas, a right-wing activist organization.

Key facts

Amy Harris, 40, and Robert Kurdlander, 58, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport stolen property interstate, the Justice Department said.

Harris found the diary in the months before the 2020 election and asked her friend Kurdlander to contact Project Veritas, which agreed to pay $40,000 for it. New York Times.

Project Veritas ultimately did not publish the diary, but the right-wing National File News website obtained a copy and published its contents on October 24, 2020, which failed to attract significant news coverage.

Harris and Kurdlander both face up to five years in prison and agreed to forfeit $40,000 to the government as part of their plea deals.

Key background

Harris reportedly moved into an apartment in Delray Beach, Florida with her two children in July 2020, a few weeks after Ashley Biden, 41, temporarily left the apartment and moved to the Philadelphia area to support her father’s campaign. Ashley Biden plans to return to the apartment in the fall and decides to leave behind some bags containing personal items such as notebooks. Harris, a cash-strapped Trump supporter, later found out that Ashley Biden lived at his home. She then finds the notebook and reveals that she meets Kurdlander in August to help them get to Project Veritas. New York Times. The right-wing organization — known for publishing heavily edited, misleading video clips that bill itself as investigative journalism — agreed to buy the diary in September 2020 after confirming its accuracy. A member of the organization reportedly called Ashley Biden and pretended to have found the notebook, saying he would return the notebook to her. Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe told staff in an October 12, 2020, email that he decided not to publish the diary because it “would come across as a cheap shot.” New York Times. The diary was handed over to the police in November 2020.

Tangent

Federal agents raided O’Keefe’s home on a Saturday morning in November, reportedly seizing cell phones to investigate the theft of the notebook. O’Keefe said he was handcuffed while in his underwear while the FBI searched his residence.

Further reading

How Ashley Biden’s Diary Made Its Way to the Veritas Project (New York Times)

Ashley Biden’s Diary Revealed at Trump Fund-Raiser Weeks later, Project Veritas called her. (The New York Times)

The FBI searched Veritas’ James O’Keefe home as part of an investigation into the theft of Ashley Biden’s diary (Forbes).

Conspiracy theories swirl after Democrat Phil Murphy’s re-election as New Jersey governor—but no evidence of widespread fraud (Forbes)

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