Florida woman sentenced to a month in jail for selling Biden daughter’s diary

9 April 2024, 20:24

Project-Veritas-Diary-Probe. Picture: PA

Aimee Harris pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge in August 2022.

A Florida mother was sentenced on Tuesday to a month in prison and three months of home confinement for stealing and selling US President Joe Biden’s daughter’s diary four years ago to the conservative group Project Veritas.

Aimee Harris was sentenced in Manhattan federal court by Judge Laura Taylor Swain, who called the Palm Beach, Florida, woman’s actions “despicable”.

Harris pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge in August 2022, admitting that she received 20,000 dollars (£15,755) of the 40,000 dollars that was paid by Project Veritas for personal items belonging to the president’s daughter, Ashley Biden.

Project Veritas, founded in 2010, identifies itself as a news organisation. It is best known for conducting hidden camera stings that have embarrassed news outlets, labour organisations and Democratic politicians.

Aimee Harris, right, outside court in New York (Larry Neumeister/AP)

A tearful Harris apologised for enabling Ashley Biden’s private writings to be sold after she found the diary and other items at a friend’s Delray Beach, Florida, home in 2020, where prosecutors said Ashley Biden believed her items were safely stored after she temporarily stayed there in spring 2020.

“I do not believe I am above the law,” Harris said after a prosecutor urged a prison sentence following her failure to appear at numerous sentencing dates on the grounds that she was consumed with caring for her two children, aged eight and six.

“I’m a survivor of long-term domestic abuse and sexual trauma,” she told the judge.

With a lawyer for Ashley Biden observing from the courtroom’s spectator section, Harris apologised to the president’s daughter, saying she regrets making her childhood and life public.

Announcing the sentence, Judge Swain noted that Harris and a co-defendant, Robert Kurlander, of nearby Jupiter, Florida, had first tried unsuccessfully to sell Ashley Biden’s belongings to then-president Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign.

The judge said Harris, besides being motivated by greed, had hoped to impact the nation’s political landscape.

Kurlander, who has not yet been sentenced, and Harris, had each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport stolen property across state lines.

Defence lawyer Anthony Cecutti urged no prison time, citing his client’s traumatic life and her efforts to care for her children while recovering from abuse and violence.

“She carries the shame and stigma of her actions,” he said.

Assistant US Attorney Robert Sobelman urged a prison sentence, saying Harris had exhibited a “pattern of disrespect for the law and the justice system”.

“Ms Harris is not the victim in this case,” Mr Sobelman said. “Ms Biden is the victim in this case.”

He said Harris in the summer of 2020 had stolen Ashley Biden’s diary, a digital storage card, books, clothing, luggage and “everything she could get her hands on” in the hopes she “could make as much money as she could”.

“She wanted to damage Ms Biden’s father,” he said.

Harris was told to report to prison in July. As she left the court, she declined to speak.

The lawyer for Ashley Biden also declined to comment, though he submitted a letter to the judge on his client’s behalf a day earlier that was not immediately put in the court record.

By Press Association

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