Politico by Josh Gerstein
Predawn raids were conducted by the FBI in November on James O’Keefe’s house and two homes belonging to other members of Project Veritas. Agents used warrants to seize computers and phones to look for evidence that they were trafficking interstate property. [apparently related to an investigation into the alleged theft of Ashley Biden’s diary -EV].
Some circles were upset by the raids because Project Veritas identified itself as a news organisation. Search warrants against journalists or news outlets are extremely rare thanks to Justice Department policies, and a federal law that was passed in 1980. This legislation limits such investigative actions.
U.S. District court Judge Analisa Torres accepted a group’s request to have a special master review all information on the seized device to make sure that prosecutors didn’t get emails or text messages.
Project Veritas’ attorneys wrote to Tuesday to the federal judge who oversees aspects of this probe. Project Veritas’ attorney said they have learned from prosecutors that, for close to a year, grand jury subpoenas were issued and court-ordered seizure of any emails O’Keefe or his colleagues had kept. The seizures took place over three months in 2020.
While the ACLU says it is “deploreful”,[s]Project Veritas’ Deceits” (noting that all details regarding the government investigation aren’t available), adds:
[W]This case sets a precedent that could lead to serious implications for press freedom. The Department of Justice has been accused of obtaining secret surveillance orders that required the wide disclosure of “all contents” of emails associated with Project Veritas, as well as attorney-client communications. This is deeply concerning.
These concerns were compounded by the fact that the government withheld information regarding the existence of electronic surveillance orders after the investigation was made public. The district court also appointed a special master who would supervise the prosecution’s access to Project Veritas’ confidential materials. It is imperative that the government immediately stops reviewing materials obtained under its electronic surveillance orders. The court must also fully disclose its actions to ensure it can provide appropriate relief.
Many of the files in this case can be viewed here.