Aimee Harris & Robert Kurlander, plead guilty to plot to selling Joe Biden daughter Ashley Biden diary to conservative group Project Veritas.
Two people have pleaded guilty in a plot to peddle a diary and other items belonging to Joe Biden’s daughter to the conservative group Project Veritas for $40,000, NY prosecutors announced Thursday.
Aimee Harris, 40, and Robert Kurlander, 58, both both from Florida, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property, Manhattan US attorney Damian Williams’ office said.
While authorities did not identify Biden, the type of property stolen or the organization that paid, the details of the investigation have been public for months. The duo were under focus for having attempted to selling the items to the Project Veritas just before the 2020 election.
‘Aimee Harris and Robert Kurlander pled guilty to conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property involving the theft of personal belongings of an immediate family member of a then former government official who was a candidate for national political office,‘ the US attorney’s office in the southern district of New York announced in a statement on Thursday.
Ashley Biden stored the diary, tax records, a digital device with family photos and a cellphone in September 2020 in a Delray Beach, Florida, home where one of the defendants was living at the time, prosecutors said in a release.
— New York Post (@nypost) August 25, 2022
Project Veritas founder: ‘I have a first amendment right to publish that.’
According to case interviews and documents reviewed by the New York Times, Biden left her belongings in the home of a friend at that time and planned to collect them later that year. The friend, who also knew Harris, allowed Harris to also stay at the home as she was embroiled in a custody dispute and was facing financial struggles.
Prosecutors said Harris stole the items and got in touch with the other defendant, a man who contacted Project Veritas, which asked for photos of the material and then paid for the two to bring it to New York.
According to Williams, the pair sold the property 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.’
Project Veritas has said it received the diary from ‘tipsters’ who said it had been abandoned in a room. The activist group, which identifies itself as a news organization, said it turned the journal over to law enforcement and never did anything illegal.
According to the group and its founder, James O’Keefe, Project Veritas ‘was not involved in any theft of property and that all of Project Veritas’s information on how the confidential sources found the property came from the sources themselves’.
When asked earlier this year by New York magazine whether he had a right to publish the diary’s details, O’Keefe replied: ‘Someone can provide information to me – a third party – and I have a first amendment right to publish that.’
The statements come after the FBI raiding the home of O’Keefe as part of an investigation into Ashley Biden’s diary in November 2021. Project Veritas who hadn’t been able to verify the items declined to publish the items.
Project Veritas sought to authenticate diary
Project Veritas is best known for conducting hidden camera stings that have embarrassed news outlets, labor organizations and Democratic politicians according to the Guardian.
In efforts to verify the diary’s authenticity, a Project Veritas operative attempted to deceive Biden during a phone call into confirming that the diary did actually belong to her.
According to Biden’s lawyers, the group then contacted them in efforts to land an interview with her father prior to the election. Biden’s lawyers, who then reached out to federal prosecutors, accused the group of its ‘extortionate effort to secure an interview’.
Both Harris and Kurlander, who were released from custody after the court hearing, apologized for their actions. ‘I sincerely apologize for any actions and know what I did was illegal,‘ Harris said according to the New York Times.
‘I know what I did was wrong and awful and I apologize,’ said Kurlander.
The pair pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property. The count carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. They also each agreed to forfeit $20,000, according to the attorney’s office.