NEW YORK — Federal prosecutors confirmed in a court filing Friday that FBI agents seized phones and electronic devices from people connected with the conservative group Project Veritas as part of an investigation into interstate transportation of stolen property.
Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe said previously that agents had searched his home, and the homes of two others, in connection with a criminal probe into how the group received a diary that purportedly belonged to President Joe Biden’s youngest daughter.
The activist group, best known for conducting hidden camera stings that have embarrassed news outlets, labor organizations and Democratic politicians, has protested the raids as a violation of free speech rights and protections given to journalists.
It had asked a judge to appoint a special master to review the seized material and ensure that prosecutors didn’t get to see files related to confidential communications Project Veritas staff had with their lawyers.
Federal prosecutors in New York urged a judge to reject that request Friday. In the filing, they blacked out key details about the case but questioned whether Project Veritas qualified as an independent journalism organization, and said even if it were one, it didn’t matter.
They didn’t specify in the visible parts of the filing what was stolen, or from whom, or say whether investigators believed that Project Veritas staff was directly involved in thefts.
In a video released this month, O’Keefe said his group acted appropriately and never “engaged in any illegal conduct.”