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The Washington Post on Monday published a report about a woman who falsely claimed Roy Moore sexually assaulted her as a teenager — and who appeared to work with Project Veritas, an organization that uses deceptive tactics and secretly recorded conversations in an effort to embarrass its targets.
Shortly after the investigation was published, Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe tweeted a video of what he called his “confrontation” with one of the authors of The Post investigation, Aaron C. Davis. The video was heavily edited, a tactic for which Project Veritas has drawn criticism.
The Post filmed the entire encounter.
Davis and another Post reporter, along with two video reporters, went to the Project Veritas offices in Mamaroneck, N.Y., on Monday morning to try to determine whether the woman, Jaime T. Phillips, worked there. They watched as she walked into the office. O’Keefe, who appeared minutes later, declined to answer questions. He invited Davis back for an interview shortly after noon.
In the full version of the video, O’Keefe repeatedly declined to answer questions about the woman and her affiliation with Project Veritas. The organization has previously targeted mainstream media outlets such as CNN, which it accuses of being biased.
Upon tweeting the edited version of the video, O’Keefe said, “The Washington Post sends a reporter to question me, but take a look. Who’s interviewing who?”
Project Veritas’s edited version leaves out most of The Post’s questions about Phillips and focuses on Davis’s choice not to comment on Project Veritas’s own project — the release of a recorded conversation with Post staff writer Dan Lamothe. O’Keefe tweeted that the conversation exposes the newspaper’s “hidden agenda” and alleged bias against President Trump.
“Is The Washington Post ambushing me and confronting us because of what we’re about to release? Is this a sort of anticipatory behavior ahead of what we’re about to do?” O’Keefe asked Davis in the video.
“For several weeks you have had one of your employees, contacting our reporters, under a false name, having multiple interviews,” Davis responded. “We have been trying to test the veracity . . . of the folks coming forward, accusing Roy Moore.”
In a series of interviews with Post reporters over two weeks, Phillips shared a false story about an alleged sexual relationship in 1992 with Moore, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Alabama. She said the relationship led to an abortion when she was 15. During the interviews, she repeatedly pressed Post reporters to give their opinions on the whether her claims could affect Moore’s candidacy if she went public.
The Post did not publish an article based on her unsubstantiated account. When Post reporters confronted her last Wednesday with inconsistencies in her story, as well as an Internet posting that raised doubts about her motivations, she insisted that she was not working with any organization that targets journalists.
Marwa Eltagouri was a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post. She left The Post in 2018. She previously worked as a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, where she covered crime, immigration and neighborhood change.
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