By Zachary Stieber
The cases brought against two Florida residents for their handling of property belonging to President Joe Biden’s daughter prove that a document said to be Ashley Biden’s diary is legitimate, the publisher of the website that released the document says.
The charges brought against Aimee Harris and Robert Kurlander, both of Florida, “essentially proves the diary is legit,” Noel Fritsch, publisher and co-founder of National File, told The Epoch Times.
Fritsch’s outlet published the 112-page document in 2020, stating at the time it received the diary from a media organization whistleblower.
National File later said that an employee with Project Veritas, a nonprofit journalism group, provided the document after Project Veritas opted against publishing it.
Project Veritas has said in court papers that it paid two people with the initials A.H. and R.K. for the document in 2020, but could not verify its authenticity so passed it on to law enforcement officials.
After FBI agents raided the homes of Project Veritas employees in 2021 as part of its investigation into what was described as the theft and illegal transport of the diary, Project Veritas said the raids “appear to be founded on the premise that the diary does belong to Ashley Biden.”
Ashley Biden’s lawyer, the White House, and the Department of Justice have not returned requests for comment.
Harris and Kurlander each pleaded guilty this week to one count of conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property, and face up to five years in prison. Attorneys representing them did not return emailed questions, and the plea deals have not been made public. Charging papers identified Joe Biden as a candidate for national political officer and a former government official, while Ashley Biden was described as an immediate family member of the candidate.
“Harris and Kurlander stole personal property from an immediate family member of a candidate for national political office. They sold the property to an organization in New York for $40,000 and even returned to take more of the victim’s property when asked to do so,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams, a Biden appointee, said in a statement. “Harris and Kurlander sought to profit from their theft of another person’s personal property, and they now stand convicted of a federal felony as a result.”
The defendants were each paid $20,000 by an organization based in New York for the diary and other materials, according to charging documents. Project Veritas has acknowledged paying for the property but says the sources attested to it not being stolen.
“Project Veritas’ news gathering was ethical and legal. A journalist’s lawful receipt of material later alleged to be stolen is routine, commonplace, and protected by the First Amendment,” a spokesman for Project Veritas told The Epoch Times in an email.
Fritsch, the National File publisher, said the outlet was already confident the diary was legitimate before deciding to publish it online.
“We were confident in the story based on our sources, that our sources were trusted people, and we were confident that the diary was legit,” he said.
National File did not pay for the document, according to Fritsch.
Multiple sources told National File that Project Veritas was prepared to publish the diary and even had a recording of Ashley Biden admitting the diary was hers, but that Project Veritas ultimately decided against publishing after pressure from people outside the group.
Project Veritas declined to comment. In a previous court filing, the group said there was “an internal belief that the diary was genuine” but that head James O’Keefe and other employees “could not sufficiently satisfy themselves with the diary’s authenticity such that publishing a news story about it would meet ethical standards of journalism.”
The group also said previously it then tried to return the diary to Ashley Biden but that Ashley Biden’s lawyer declined to confirm whether the diary belonged to her. That’s when the group arranged for the delivery of the materials to a law enforcement agency in Florida.
National File has never heard from Ashley Biden, Fritsch said.