ACLU Says FBI Raid Violated Project Veritas Founder James O’Keefe’s Journalistic Rights
The American Civil Liberties Union has weighed in on the FBI’s October 6 raid of right-wing underground media outlet Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe‘s home relating to a diary he obtained in 2020 that belonged to Ashley Biden, the eldest daughter of President Joe Biden.
O’Keefe had attempted to surrender the diary to law enforcement after he was unable to verify its authenticity. And because there is no evidence that O’Keefe illegally acquired the diary – whose contents were never published – his lawyers have argued that he was denied the typical protections offered to journalists.
“The Department of Justice’s use of a search warrant to seize a reporter’s notes and work product violates decades of established Supreme Court precedent,” defense attorney Paul Calli wrote to prosecutors.
Although the ACLU noted that while some of Project Veritas’s past activities were dishonest and deceptive, the organization believes that O’Keefe’s First Amendment rights to free speech and free press were violated.
“Project Veritas has engaged in disgraceful deceptions, and reasonable observers might not consider their activities to be journalism at all,” Brian Hauss, senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, said in a statement. “Nevertheless, the precedent set in this case could have serious consequences for press freedom. Unless the government had good reason to believe that Project Veritas employees were directly involved in the criminal theft of the diary, it should not have subjected them to invasive searches and seizures. We urge the court to appoint a special master to ensure that law enforcement officers review only those materials that were lawfully seized and that are directly relevant to a legitimate criminal investigation.”
In February, Project Veritas was permanently banned from Twitter for “repeatedly” engaging in conduct that breached the platform’s terms of service.
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