Political activist James O’Keefe poses for a photo as he attends the New York screening of the Mike Cernovich film “Hoaxed” in Manhattan in New York City, U.S., December 9, 2018. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
Project Veritas’ James O’Keefe speaks out after FBI raided home: ‘This is an attack on the First Amendment’
O’Keefe told Fox News’ Sean Hannity he was ‘in a state of shock’ as FBI agents searched his apartment
Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe appeared on “Hannity” for his first interview since the FBI raided his home on Saturday morning as part of a federal investigation into the missing diary of President Biden‘s daughter, Ashley Biden.
“I woke up to a pre-dawn raid,” O’Keefe told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Monday. “Banging on my door, I went to my door to answer the door and there were ten FBI agents with a battering ram, white blinding lights, they turned me around, handcuffed me and threw me against the hallway. I was partially clothed in front of my neighbors. They confiscated my phone. They raided my apartment. On my phone were many of my reporters’ notes. A lot of my sources unrelated to this story and a lot of confidential donor information to our news organization.”
“I’ve heard ‘the process is the punishment.’ I didn’t really understand what that meant until this weekend. And Sean, I wouldn’t wish this on any journalist,” O’Keefe said.
O’Keefe said he was “in a state of shock” as FBI agents spent over two hours searching his apartment, telling Hannity they took two of his iPhones.
Paul Calli, O’Keefe’s attorney, commented on the situation regarding Ashley Biden’s diary, telling Hannity Project Veritas paid money to the tipsters who had obtained the diary for the “right to publish the material,” which the guerilla news outlet never did and later turn the material to “local law enforcement.”
Calli also pushed back against the notion that the diary was “stolen,” telling Hannity “nobody knows if that’s the case.”
“This is an attack on the First Amendment by the Department of Justice,” O’Keefe said. “I’m calling upon all journalists to take a stand against this. A source comes to us with information, I didn’t even decide to publish it. If they can do this to me, if they can do it to this journalist and raid my home and take my reporter notes, they’ll do it to any journalist. This is about something very fundamental in this country. I don’t know which direction this country is going in. But journalists everywhere have to rise up because we broke no laws here. If they can do it to me, they’ll do it to anybody.”
The FBI did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
The raid into O’Keefe’s home came just days after raids were conducted on two Project Veritas associates.
The investigation, which is also being conducted by the Southern District of New York, surrounds a “stolen” diary belonging to Ashley Biden that went missing just days before the 2020 presidential election.
O’Keefe alleged in a video statement released Friday that “within an hour” of the FBI’s raid of the home of a Project Veritas reporter, The New York Times contacted that reporter for comment.
“We do not know how the New York Times was aware of the execution of a search warrant at our reporter’s home or the subject matter of the search warrant as a grand jury investigation is secret,” O’Keefe said. “The FBI took materials of current, former Project Veritas journalists despite the fact that our legal team previously contacted the Department of Justice and voluntarily conveyed unassailable facts that demonstrate Project Veritas’ lack of involvement in criminal activity, and or criminal intent.”
“Our efforts were the stuff of responsible ethical journalism, and we are in no doubt that Project Veritas acted properly at each and every step,” O’Keefe asserted.
The Project Veritas founder then explained that “tipsters” approached his group late last year alleging to have Ashley Biden’s diary containing “explosive allegations” about her father, then the Democratic nominee, and that the diary was allegedly abandoned in a room that she had stayed at and that they stayed after.
The “tipsters,” who O’Keefe said he had never met prior, were apparently negotiating with media outlets to sell Biden’s diary and that ultimately, Project Veritas did not publish the book’s contents because his group was not able to independently verify its authenticity.
“Project Veritas gave the diary to law enforcement to ensure it could be returned to its rightful owner. We never published it,” O’Keefe said. “Now, Ms. Biden’s father’s Department of Justice, specifically the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, appears to be investigating the situation, claiming the diary was stolen. We don’t know if it was but it begs the question: In what world is the alleged theft of a diary investigated by the President’s FBI and his Department of Justice? A diary?”
O’Keefe went on to claim the investigation “smacks of politics” but that Project Veritas will “not back down.”