More From NBC
Follow NBC News
Federal agents searched several locations belonging to current and former members of the conservative media company Project Veritas on Thursday in an investigation involving the possible theft of a diary belonging to President Joe Biden’s daughter, Ashley Biden, according to a statement from the group’s website and an FBI spokesperson.
An FBI spokesperson confirmed to NBC News that “court authorized law enforcement activity” took place at an address associated with Project Veritas in Mamaroneck, N.Y., and another address on E. 35th St. in Manhattan.
The conservative group confirmed a New York Times report that the investigation involves allegations that a diary belonging to the president’s daughter had been stolen. Portions of the diary were published online by a conservative website about two weeks before the 2020 presidential election.
The Times, citing two sources briefed on the matter, reported that the Justice Department has been investigating the case since October 2020, when a representative of the Biden family reported that several of Ashley Biden’s personal items had been stolen in a burglary.
In a statement Friday, Project Veritas CEO James O’Keefe — known for producing “gotcha”-style undercover videos involving Democratic politicians, activists and the media — said his group had been approached by people claiming they had the Biden daughter’s diary, but they decided not to publish it.
“Late last year, we were approached by tipsters claiming they had a copy of Ashley Biden’s diary” and “the tipsters indicated that they were negotiating with a different media outlet for the payment of monies for the diary,” O’Keefe said.
“At the end of the day, we made the ethical decision that because, in part, we could not determine if the diary was real, if the diary in fact belonged to Ashley Biden, or if the contents of the diary occurred, we could not publish the diary and any part thereof.”
He said they turned the diary over to law enforcement after an attorney for Ashley Biden refused to accept or authenticate it.
The site that did publish excerpts did so about two weeks after the New York Post began publishing stories about information and emails it said was on a laptop that belonged to Biden’s son and Ashley’s half-brother, Hunter. Former President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani said he gave the hard drive to the conservative tabloid and that the laptop had been obtained legally after it was left at a Delaware computer store. NBC News was unable to confirm the content and authenticity of the emails and other records after Giuliani refused to share a copy of the hard drive.
Giuliani told The New York Times he’d gone to the Post with the hard drive because “either nobody else would take it, or if they took it, they would spend all the time they could to try to contradict it before they put it out.”
Tom Winter is a New York-based correspondent covering crime, courts, terrorism and financial fraud on the East Coast for the NBC News Investigative Unit.
Gary Grumbach is 2020 campaign embed for NBC News.
Dareh Gregorian is a politics reporter for NBC News.
© 2021 NBC UNIVERSAL