A woman who falsely claimed to The Washington Post that Roy Moore, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Alabama, impregnated her as a teenager appears to work with an organization that uses deceptive tactics to secretly record conversations in an effort to embarrass its targets.
In a series of interviews over two weeks, the woman shared a dramatic story about an alleged sexual relationship with Moore in 1992 that led to an abortion when she was 15. During the interviews, she repeatedly pressed Post reporters to give their opinions on the effects that her claims could have on Moore’s candidacy if she went public.
.. The organization sets up undercover “stings” that involve using false cover stories and covert video recordings meant to expose what the group says is media bias.
.. O’Keefe declined to answer repeated questions about whether the woman was employed at Project Veritas. He also did not respond when asked if he was working with Moore, former White House adviser and Moore supporter Stephen K. Bannon, or Republican strategists.
.. After Phillips was observed entering the Project Veritas office, The Post made the unusual decision to report her previous off-the-record comments.
“We always honor ‘off-the-record’ agreements when they’re entered into in good faith,” said Martin Baron, The Post’s executive editor. “But this so-called off-the-record conversation was the essence of a scheme to deceive and embarrass us. The intent by Project Veritas clearly was to publicize the conversation if we fell for the trap. Because of our customary journalistic rigor, we weren’t fooled, and we can’t honor an ‘off-the-record’ agreement that was solicited in maliciously bad faith.”
.. That same day, Gateway Pundit, a conservative site, spread a false story from a Twitter account, @umpire43, that said, “A family friend in Alabama just told my wife that a WAPO reporter named Beth offer her 1000$ to accuse Roy Moore.” The Twitter account, which has a history of spreading misinformation, has since been deleted.
.. Nov. 14, a pastor in Alabama said he received a voice mail from a man falsely claiming to be a Post reporter and seeking women “willing to make damaging remarks” about Moore for money. No one associated with The Post made any such call.
.. When Reinhard suggested bringing another reporter, Phillips wrote, “I’m not really comfortable with anyone else being there this time.”
.. Phillips also repeatedly asked the reporter to guarantee her that Moore would lose the election if she came forward. Reinhard told her in a subsequent text message that she could not predict what the impact would be. Reinhard said she also explained to Phillips that her claims would have to be fact-checked. Additionally, Reinhard asked her for documents that would corroborate or support her story.
.. Phillips had said she lived in Alabama only for a summer while a teenager, but the cellphone number Phillips provided had an Alabama area code.
Reinhard called NFM Lending in Westchester County, but they said a person named Jaime Phillips did not work there.
.. Also working at Veritas is former television producer Robert J. Halderman, who was sentenced to six months in jail in 2010 after he was accused of trying to blackmail late-night host David Letterman.
.. When McCrummen put her purse near Phillips’s purse to block a possible camera, Phillips moved hers.
.. Phillips said she didn’t want to get into the details of what she had said happened between her and Moore.
.. When asked who at the Daily Caller interviewed her, Phillips said, “Kathy,” pausing before adding the last name, “Johnson.”
Paul Conner, executive editor of the Daily Caller, said Monday that no one with the name Kathy Johnson works for the publication and that he has no record of having personally interviewed Phillips
.. As the interview ended, Phillips told McCrummen she was not recording the conversation.
“I think I probably just want to cancel and not go through with it at this point,”
.. “I’m not going to answer any more questions,” she said. “I think I’m just going to go.”
.. By 7 p.m. the message on the GoFundMe page was gone, replaced by a new one.
“Campaign is complete and no longer active,” it read.