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Two Florida residents pleaded guilty to stealing and selling items, including a personal diary that belonged to a relative of a then-former government official who was running for national office.
News reports have widely reported that the case involved property belonging to Ashley Biden, daughter of President Joe Biden.
The diary was obtained by conservative group Project Veritas, which said it declined to publish it because it could not verify its authenticity. Another conservative group, National File, in October 2020 published what it said was a digital copy.
The FBI did not verify the diary’s contents in its announcement of the plea deal or in charging documents.
The FBI in late August announced a plea deal in a case involving the theft and sale of a handwritten journal belonging to an immediate family member of a politician.
Some social media users took the FBI’s announcement as confirmation of salacious details allegedly contained in the diary.
"Joe Biden's daughter said that her dad showered with her inappropriately. The FBI confirmed it today," read a Sept. 9 Facebook post. "This is the sitting President of the United States. How is this not a huge story? My father molested me in the shower many times. Ashley Biden."
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
It’s wrong. The FBI did not confirm that any alleged contents of the diary are true.
It announced that two Florida residents had pleaded guilty to "conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property involving the theft of personal belongings of an immediate family member of a then-former government official who was a candidate for national political office."
Nor did either document make any mention about the diary’s contents.
The FBI also did not name Project Veritas, either, writing that Harris and Kurlander had sold the diary and other belongings to "to an organization in New York for $40,000."
Both the FBI and Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe confirmed in November 2021 that the FBI seached the homes of O’Keefe and two others in connection with the case.
According to charging documents, the victim’s property, including a personal journal, was "stored" in a room at a residence in Delray Beach, Florida, when she moved out.
Harris later moved into that residence in 2020. She discovered to whom the items belonged, then conspired with Kurlander to sell them to a group in New York, the court documents said.
O’Keefe has said the diary was provided to his group by tipsters, and that he chose not to publish its contents because he could not authenticate that the diary belonged to Ashley Biden. O’Keefe said the items were handed over to a law enforcement agency. No charges have been filed against O’Keefe or anyone else in the case.
A digital copy of the diary was eventually published by another conservative outlet, the National File, which said it obtained it from a "Project Veritas whistleblower."
Unfounded claims that Joe Biden is a pedophile ran rampant during the 2020 presidential campaign. PolitiFact could not find any credible accusations involving children against Biden in his more than 40 years of public life.
A Facebook post claims the FBI confirmed that Ashley Biden wrote in her diary that her father molested her as a child.
The FBI said no such thing. The announcement of a plea deal involving two people who sold the diary does not mention either Biden’s name, much less the content of the diary.
We rate this claim False.
Facebook post, Sept. 13, 2022
Justice Department, press release announcing plea deal, Aug. 25, 2022
Justice Department, "United States of America vs. Aimee Harris and Robert Kurlander"
National File, Official National File statement regarding FBI interest in Ashley Biden’s ‘probably not appropriate’ showers Diary," Jan. 5, 2022
BlazeTV, "James O’Keefe Details His FBI Raid & Why the NYT Knew About It First ," Jan. 24, 2022
The Associated Press, "2 plead guilty in scheme to sell Biden’s daughter’s diary," Aug. 25, 2022
The Associated Press, "Feds confirm Project Veritas raids were part of theft probe," Nov. 19, 2021
The New York Times, "Ashley Biden’s diary was shown at Trump fundraiser. weeks later, Project Veritas called her," March 20, 2022
PolitiFact, "Fact-checking the pedophilia attacks against Joe Biden," Aug. 12, 2020
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