On Thursday, Just the News posted the following:
Last week, attorneys for the ACLU wrote a letter to Judge Analisa Torres of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York objecting to the court declining to unseal the search warrant application and related judicial documents filed in connection to the raid of the home of investigative journalist James O’Keefe, founder of Project Veritas.
In November, federal prosecutors obtained and executed warrants to raid the homes of three Project Veritas journalists, including O’Keefe, and seize their electronic devices. O’Keefe was handcuffed by FBI agents during the search of his home and required to stand in the public hallway of his apartment building dressed in his underwear, according to court documents.
In December, the magistrate judge assisting Torres in the case declined requests to unseal the search warrant materials, arguing the government’s stated interest in protecting both the integrity of an ongoing grand jury investigation into Project Veritas and the privacy of uncharged individuals named in the documents outweighed the public’s interest in accessing the information.
The magistrate judge’s opinion led the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP) to file a motion calling on the court to unseal the materials.
The ACLU’s new letter expresses support for the RCFP’s objection, noting that a significant amount of information about the government’s investigation has been made public since the magistrate judge issued her order.
If you remember, the FBI search of the home of James O’Keefe happened about the time it became known that James O’Keefe had been offered a copy of Ashley Biden’s diary (see story here). The raid on James O’keefe at his home appeared to be another example of the federal government attacking someone they perceived as a possible enemy or person who might release negative information about people (or relatives of people) in the Biden administration.
The article at Just the News concludes:
Through the Microsoft search warrants, which were unsealed in March, the government seized nearly 200,000 Project Veritas emails and other files, many of which were unrelated to the Justice Department’s purported reason for initiating the warrants.
The Justice Department has contended there’s probable cause to believe Project Veritas was involved in stealing the diary and transporting it — a claim denied by the sources, who have consistently said it was abandoned at the Florida house, and O’Keefe’s legal team.
Calli (O’Keefe’s attorney, Paul Calli,) has accused the FBI and Justice Department of a witch hunt targeting a media organization openly critical of the Biden administration, arguing the government is violating the First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, and the Privacy Protection Act.
“The ACLU has taken a righteous and principled stance regarding the government’s desecration of the First Amendment,” Calli told Just the News. “Project Veritas is grateful for the support of the ACLU and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.”
Calli added, “Sadly, partisan political activists like those at the New York Times, and others in the for-profit, credentialed, cloistered, legacy media, as well as blogs like the Columbia Journalism Review, have not woken to the threat to all journalists.”
Calli has previously told Just the News that the government doesn’t want to unseal the search warrant materials for Project Veritas because federal prosecutors and FBI agents lied and misled in them to obtain warrants from judges.
The Justice Department declined to comment for this story.
The politicization of the Justice Department in America will eventually become a problem for both political parties. It is good to see the ACLU getting involved in this case.