Project Veritas, the creepo undercover right-wing sting team run by James O’Keefe, spent months trying to fool the Washington Post into printing false accusations against theocrat and alleged pedophile Roy Moore in order to undermine the real allegations made by women that he was sexually inappropriate with when they were minors. Moore, a twice-deposed former judge, is the only man alive who might make Luther Strange and Jeff Sessions, the two previous occupants of the Alabama Senate seat he is vying for, look almost normal.
Jaime Phillips, the woman trying to claim that Moore impregnated her when she was underage and then urged her to have an abortion, was spotted by Post reporters walking into the offices of Project Veritas. They confronted her on cameras of their own.
“The Washington Post seems to want a Nobel Prize for vetting a source correctly,” O’Keefe later said in response.
On the same day that the Post story broke, prosecutor Jennifer Kerkhoff introduced a Project Veritas video into the trial of the first six of the 193 to be charged under the federal Riot Act for protesting during the inauguration.
It came during the testimony of an undercover officer who infiltrated a Jan 8 meeting in a church where various groups coordinated Inauguration Day activities. Kerkhoff asked the officer if he recorded the meeting, and he said that his supervisors told him not to. But, he said, MPD later obtained a video of the same meeting.
It was filmed by a Project Veritas operative. And here’s where it gets really fucked up. We don’t know how much the Project Veritas video was edited.
“I’m not aware of any edits or anything,” Kerkhoff said in court. When the judge asked her who provided the video to the MPD, she replied: “a third party.”
Even worse, we don’t know how many Project Veritas operatives were in the room, saying things that may have colored undercover Officer Bryan Adelmeyer’s perception of the events. So it taints his testimony as well. Despite the Veritas in its name, O’Keefe’s organization is built on deceit—and may in fact lose nonprofit status in New York because he failed to disclose his criminal record, for using false premises to enter a federal building in an attempted Watergate/Bob the Builder cosplay self-sting.
By contrast, Alexei Wood, a photojournalist who is one of the defendants in the current trial, is almost radically transparent about the livestream video, which occupied much of the motion hearings over the past several months, that he filmed during the protest.
“I didn’t do anything wrong. I livestreamed myself from beginning to end, and the entire world can decide whether I incited a riot,” he said. “It’s out there for the whole world to decide, and I’m glad it is.”
The government, on the other hand, is not only using Project Veritas’ unauthenticated video, but actually edited the videos in order to obscure the identity of the still-unknown Project Veritas operative, as if he were an officer.
The last time O’Keefe tried so hard to sting the media, it involved dildos, hair grease, a boat, and a CNN reporter, Abbie Boudreau, who never got on the boat, causing the explosively bad idea to backfire.
He was later accused by one of his own operatives of drugging her when she refused his romantic overtures and then enlisting an army of right-wing trolls, including her former friend Andrew Breitbart, to harass her when she tried to expose him (listen to this week’s podcast with Chris Faraone, DigBoston editor and author of I Killed Breitbart for more on this).
But, as Moore’s campaign shows, that’s the way the far right works now. If you’re on their side, they will defend almost anything.
Baynard Woods is a reporter at the Real News. Email email@example.com. Twitter @baynardwoods.