Two people have pleaded guilty in a plan to sell a diary and other items belonging to Joe Biden’s daughter to the conservative group Project Veritas for $40,000, prosecutors said Thursday.
The two, both from Florida, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit the interstate transportation of stolen goods, US attorney Damian Williams’ office in Manhattan said.
While authorities have not identified Biden, the type of property stolen or the organization that paid for it, the details of the investigation have been public for months.
“Aimee Harris and Robert Kurlander pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit the interstate transportation of stolen goods, involving the stolen personal property of an immediate family member of a then-former government official running for national political office,” the statement said. American law firm in the United States. New York’s southern district announced in a statement Thursday.
Ashley Biden kept the diary, tax records, a digital device containing family photos and a cell phone in September 2020 at a home in Delray Beach, Florida, where one of the defendants lived at the time, prosecutors said in a release.
According to case interviews and documents reviewed by the New York Times, Biden left her belongings at a friend’s house at the time and planned to retrieve them later that year. The boyfriend, who also knew Harris, allowed Harris to stay in the house as well because she was embroiled in a custody dispute and had financial difficulties.
Prosecutors said Harris stole the items and came into contact with the other defendant, a man who contacted Project Veritas, who asked for photos of the material and then paid the two to take it to New York.
According to Williams, the couple sold the property for “$40,000 and even returned to take more of the victim’s property when asked. Harris and Kurlander tried to profit from their theft of other people’s personal property, and as a result, were she is now convicted of a federal crime.”
Project Veritas has said it received the diary from “tippers” who said it was left in a room. The activist group, which identifies itself as a news organization, said they turned the magazine over to the police and never did anything illegal.
According to the group and its founder, James O’Keefe, Project Veritas was “not involved in property theft and that all of Project Veritas’ information about how the confidential sources found the property came from the sources themselves”.
When asked earlier this year by New York magazine whether he had the right to publish the details of the diary, O’Keefe replied, “Someone may provide information to me – a third party – and I have a first amendment right to to publish that.”
Project Veritas is best known for performing hidden camera stabs that have embarrassed news outlets, labor organizations and Democratic politicians.
In an effort to verify the diary’s authenticity, a Project Veritas employee tried to trick Biden during a phone call to confirm that the diary was really hers.
According to Biden’s lawyers, the group then contacted them to get an interview with her father before the election. Biden’s lawyers, who then reached out to federal prosecutors, accused the group of “excessive efforts to get an interview.”
Both Harris and Kurlander, who were released after the trial, apologized for their actions. “I sincerely apologize for any actions and know that what I did was illegal,” Harris said, according to the New York Times.
“I know what I did was wrong and horrible and I apologize,” Kurlander said.
The pair pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen goods. The count carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. They also agreed to lose $20,000, according to the law firm.
Associated Press contributed to this article