Ashley Biden’s diary thieves plead guilty

Ashley Biden left her diary and some other personal belongings at a friend’s house in Florida where she had stayed briefly, planned to collect them later.

An acquaintance of the friend named Aimee Harris, who also stayed at the house, stole the diary and some of the other items; then she contacted a man named Robert Kurlander, who arranged a sale of the diary for $40,000 to Project Veritas, James O’Keefe’s outfit. O’Keefe (profile here) is a rightwing provocateur.

Days before the 2020 election, a few pages of the diary appeared on a rightwing website, but most of it remained unpublished (because, O’Keefe said, he couldn’t authenticate it).

About a year later, after Biden’s father took office, the FBI raided O’Keefe’s apartment and the homes of several Project Veritas employees. These searches were criticized by the ACLU and press freedom as overreach (details here). In any case, O’Keefe surrendered the diary to the FBI.

On Thursday, August 25, 2022, Harris and Kurlander pled guilty in federal court to “to conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property,” and agreed to forfeit the $40 grand.

Meanwhile, O’Keefe is trying to cover his heinie, claiming Project Veritas never did anything illegal, and “was not involved in any theft of property and that all of Project Veritas’s information on how the confidential sources found the property came from the sources themselves.”

Which sounds like he’s claiming he didn’t know the diary was stolen. Really? Well, he sure did after the FBI knock on the door.

Okay, so here’s the deal. The diary isn’t abandoned property, it’s stolen property, so it still belongs to Ashley Biden and the intrepid pair, Harris and Kurlander, had no right to sell it and O’Keefe bought a Brooklyn Bridge. So he’s out his $40,000, but he could sue Harris and Kurlander to get it back, although good luck finding a sympathetic jury.

As for whether he had a right to publish the diary, O’Keefe — who is not a lawyer — told New York magazine that if someone provides information to him, “I have a first amendment right to publish that.” Sorry, Charlie. That’s copyrighted material, and if you publish it without the author’s permission, she can sue your heinie for copyright infringement.

This article isn’t a legal treatise, so I won’t go over the case law here, some of which involves unpublished letters of J. D. Salinger, conversations with Ernest Hemingway, and other famous people. Generally speaking, stuff like this isn’t commercially valuable unless it involves famous people, although the copyright rules apply to everyone.

So, Harris stole Ashley Biden’s diary, but she got it back; O’Keefe is out his 40 thousand bucks, and Harris and Kurlander are out the fruits of their crime; and they’re now convicted felons looking at possible jail time.

Crime doesn’t pay. Neither does O’Keefe’s brand of “political activism,” at least not this time; Ashley’s dad won the election anyway.

That must really stick in their craws. Good.

Read story here.

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