WASHINGTON (TND) — Project Veritas has asked members of Congress for "certain reforms" and to "enforce the Privacy Protection Act."
This comes after the FBI raided the home and office of founder James O'Keefe for the possible theft of a diary that belonged to Ashley Biden during the 2020 election. A lawyer representing O'Keefe believes the FBI is using the legal system to harass members of the media who are critical of President Joe Biden.
Project Veritas obtained the diary of Biden's adult daughter after it was found at a home in Florida, and, ultimately, did not run a story about the diary's contents. The group then gave the diary to police in Florida after Biden won in November 2020. O'Keefe maintains Project Veritas was not involved in removing the diary from the home in Florida, but that a "tipster" turned over the diary and other personal belongings.
"There was no crime. The Supreme Court protects the right of a journalist to publish information, even if it's stolen by a third party, so long as the journalist did not participate in the theft," said O'Keefe to The National Desk's Jan Jeffcoat. "We gave it to local law enforcement in Florida to return the property to its rightful owner, whoever that was, but we decided not to publish the diary."
O'Keefe said he attempted to authenticate the diary, and failing that, could not "corroborate the allegations contained within the diary."
"We did everything an ethical journalist should do ... and then a few weeks later, my home, my colleague's home was raided by FBI agents," said O'Keefe. "This is unconscionable and we don't think that any journalist's home should be raided and we've asked for certain reforms to be made."
The Justice Department has seized nearly 200,000 emails and other files from Project Veritas after obtaining search warrants through Microsoft, according to O'Keefe. Federal prosecutors resisted efforts by O'Keefe to return the electronic devices and data seized by the FBI, arguing the government's actions violate the First Amendment.
"The government's retention of the electronic devices and data at issue is reasonable because they were obtained pursuant to valid legal process, and the government's grand jury investigation does remain ongoing," states a new motion filed by U.S. attorneys in the Southern District of New York, arguing a petition to return the materials to Project Veritas should be denied.
"To try to say, I need to see all your source materials as a journalist, I need to see everything you're working on in order to prove that you didn't commit a crime. Well, that's kind of incompatible with the notion of innocent until proven guilty," said O'Keefe.
Watch the full interview below.