Two Florida residents pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing Ashley Biden's diary and selling it to Project Veritas, the conservative group raided by the FBI last year regarding the theft of the diary. Also Thursday, federal prosecutors presented new evidence alleging the ways in which the group (which presents itself as a news organization) tried to use the diary of now-President Biden's daughter at the end of the 2020 presidential campaign season, the New York Times reports. No one from the group has yet been charged, but one of the people who pleaded guilty has agreed to cooperate with authorities, which the Times says is a sign the group will continue to be probed.
Ashley Biden kept the diary during her addiction recovery, and it features "intimate" family information. Project Veritas never published it (though another conservative website did, in a release that received scant attention), but in a text message between the defendants who pleaded guilty, one of them claims that Project Veritas is "trying to make a story that will ruin" Ashley Biden "and try and effect the election." Prosecutors say the defendants tried to sell the diary to the Trump campaign, but representatives told them they should turn it over to the FBI. Project Veritas allegedly paid them $40,000 for it, CNN reports.
The diary had been left at the Florida home of one of Biden's friends, with whom she had stayed; she planned to come back for it later. Then one of the defendants stayed at that same home, and found Biden's diary and other belongings. Prosecutors say she later returned to steal more of Biden's belongings at the behest of Project Veritas, because the group wanted to authenticate the diary, and they say the group also tried to trick Biden herself into admitting the diary belonged to her. Project Veritas also allegedly tried to use it as leverage to get an interview with now-President Biden. The group said in a statement Thursday, "A journalist's lawful receipt of material later alleged to be stolen is routine, commonplace, and protected by the First Amendment." (Read more Ashley Biden stories.)