FBI searches homes tied to Project Veritas over diary probe

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ORLANDO, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 26: James O'Keefe, President, Project Veritas, addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference being held in the Hyatt Regency on February 26, 2021 in Orlando, Florida. Begun in 1974, CPAC brings together conservative organizations, activists, and world leaders to discuss issues important to them. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal agents searched the New York homes of people tied to the conservative group Project Veritas months after the group received a diary that a tipster claimed belonged to President Joe Biden’s youngest daughter, its leader said Friday.

In a video posted on YouTube, James O’Keefe said his organization had received a grand jury subpoena and said current and former Project Veritas employees had their homes searched by federal agents.

The conservative group is known for using hidden cameras and hiding identities to try to ensnare journalists in embarrassing conversations and to reveal supposed liberal bias.

An FBI spokesman confirmed that agents had conducted “court authorized law enforcement activity” at an apartment in Manhattan and an address in Mamaroneck in Westchester County. The U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan declined to comment.

O’Keefe said his group never threatened anyone or “engaged in any illegal conduct.” He said there was “no doubt Project Veritas acted appropriately at each and every step.”

Video: Project Veritas targets California schoolteacher for alleged 'antifa' discussion

In the video, O’Keefe says that his group was contacted late last year by “tipsters” who had claimed to have a copy of Ashley Biden’s diary. The tipsters said the diary had been “abandoned in a room” after she left the room, O’Keefe said, adding that the tipsters said the diary had “explosive allegations against then-candidate Joe Biden.”

He said the group’s lawyers had been in contact with the Justice Department before the searches, which were first reported by The New York Times, and had “conveyed unassailable facts that demonstrate Project Veritas’ lack of involvement in criminal activity and/or criminal intent.”

O’Keefe said the tipsters who had provided the diary had contacted the group and at the time said they were also negotiating with another organization to sell the information. Ultimately, Project Veritas did not publish information from the diary, in part because the group could not determine if it belonged to Ashley Biden, or if the information was authentic, he said.

O’Keefe said his group tried to return the diary to a lawyer for Ashely Biden and later provided it to law enforcement, though he did not specific which agency the group contacted.

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