An attorney for the founder of Project Veritas has accused the Department of Justice of tipping off the New York Times about recent raids on current and former employees, while suggesting federal prosecutors may have also leaked the group’s legal communications.
Project Veritas, the conservative activist group founded by James O’Keefe, has come under federal scrutiny in relation to the alleged theft of the diary of President Joe Biden‘s daughter Ashley, which the group considered publishing but never did.
The FBI conducted raids at O’Keefe’s New York home and those of others connected to Project Veritas, seizing O’Keefe’s cell phone among other items.
On Thursday, the New York Times published a report based on memos from the group’s lawyer, revealing his legal advice on the group’s use of false identities and undercover filming, tactics that are eschewed by most modern journalists.
O’Keefe’s attorney Harmeet Dhillon in an interview on Thursday night slammed the report as a ‘hit piece’ and questioned whether the DOJ had leaked the legal memos to the Times, an extraordinary and possibly illegal step.
‘I can’t say how the New York Times got this information, but they got it in a way that is illegal and unethical,’ Dhillon told Fox News.
Attorney Harmeet Dhillon in an interview on Thursday night slammed the Times report as a ‘hit piece’ and questioned whether the DOJ had leaked the legal memos
The FBI conducted raids at O’Keefe’s New York home and those of others connected to Project Veritas, seizing O’Keefe’s cell phone among other items
‘We have a disturbing situation of the US Attorney’s office or the FBI tipping off the New York Times to each of the raids on Project Veritas current and former employees,’ Dhillon said.
‘We know that because minutes after these raids occurred they got calls from the New York Times which was the only journalism outlet that knew about it. And they published this hit piece today, which is really despicable. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this low from the New York Times before, to publish people’s private legal communications,’ she added.
‘This is a scandal of epic proportions. Every journalist who is not worried about this should hang up their journalism card, and all First Amendment lawyers as well,’ said Dhillon.
The DOJ did not immediately respond to an inquiry from DailyMail.com outside of business hours on Friday.
The Times report quotes legal advice that attorney Benjamin Barr gave Project Veritas about the laws surrounding covert recordings and deceptive false identities in various situations and jurisdictions.
In one case, he consulted on a plan to use Tinder to ‘meet prospective agents of the ‘Deep State’ or those with national security clearances’ and advised against attempting to obtain or publish any information related to national security.
Attorney Harmeet Dhillon calls the New York Times report a ‘hit piece’ and ‘really despicable’
On Thursday, the New York Times published a report based on memos from the lawyer advising Project Veritas, revealing his legal advice to the group
In another, he warned that attempting to use a false identity to enter campaign events where the Secret Service vets attendees could result in federal charges of lying to a government agent.
The Times has its own longstanding feud with Project Veritas, after the conservative group published a series of undercover tapes of Times employees in 2017.
The conservative group describes itself as a journalism outlet dedicated to setting the record straight amid widespread liberal media bias, but critics say that its hidden camera tactics and selective editing are beyond the pale.
On Saturday, the FBI raided O’Keefe’s home as part of its investigation into Ashley Biden’s stolen diary.
Project Veritas did not publish the diary, but the group says it did discuss it with sources in the waning days of the 2020 election.
Portions of the diary were published by another conservative outlet, which said they were provided by a frustrated employee of a media outlet that passed on them.
On Saturday, the FBI raided O’Keefe’s home as part of its investigation into Ashley Biden’s stolen diary
A Manhattan apartment building that was among the raid sites is seen above
The mainstream media and other conservative outlets largely ignored the publication of the diary, which was highly personal.
Authorities raided O’Keefe’s Westchester County residence in Mamaroneck just a day after O’Keefe himself acknowledged Project Veritas was being probed.
‘I woke up to a pre-dawn raid, 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,’ he told Fox News.
‘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. I wouldn’t wish this on any journalist,’ O’Keefe said.
‘If they can do this to me, if they can do it to any journalist.’