Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe scored a crucial legal win on Wednesday, when a federal judge ordered that a “special master” be appointed to review data from O’Keefe’s cellular phones, seized by the FBI in a November raid on his home.
Last month, the FBI raided O’Keefe’s house, ostensibly looking for information about the alleged theft of a diary belonging to Ashley Biden, the daughter of President Joe Biden, in 2020. O’Keefe says that Project Veritas obtained the diary legally but declined to publish its contents, and contacted law enforcement. (Portions of the diary were leaked and published, though it is not clear that Project Veritas had any connection to the leaks or to the publication.)
O’Keefe went to federal court to force the Department of Justice (DOJ) to stop extracting information from his phones, and the judge ordered the DOJ to comply, pending a decision about the appointment of a special master to screen out materials that might be privileged and therefore unavailable to law enforcement, such as O’Keefe’s communications to his attorneys.
Subsequently, the New York Times began publishing legal memos written by O’Keefe’s lawyers to him regarding his past journalistic projects, prompting a state judge in New York to bar the Times from doing so until it could defend its actions in court and reassure the court that it was not using privileged information to which it did not have the right to gain access.