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Woman who stole Ashley Biden’s diary is sentenced to a month in prison

After more than a year of delays, a Florida woman was sentenced Tuesday to one month in prison and three years of probation for stealing and selling President Biden’s daughter’s diary, portions of which were made public shortly before the 2020 general election.

Aimee Harris, 41, pleaded guilty in 2022 to providing Ashley Biden’s personal belongings to the conservative group Project Veritas for $20,000. The nonprofit organization is known for deceptive tactics in targeting what it says is liberal bias in the mainstream media, including an attempt to infiltrate The Washington Post in 2017.

Judge Laura Taylor Swain of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York called Harris’s actions “despicable,” the Associated Press reported. Harris tearfully apologized for her actions during the sentencing hearing and said she regrets making the president’s daughter’s childhood and life public, according to the AP.

As part of her sentencing, Harris must also forfeit the money she earned from the sale.

Attorneys for Harris declined to comment Tuesday evening.

In September 2020, Harris and fellow Florida resident Robert Kurlander, 61, who also pleaded guilty and has not yet been sentenced, “conspired to steal, transport across state lines and sell personal property” belonging to an individual they knew “was an immediate family member of a then-former government official who was a candidate for national political office,” a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said in 2022.

“After Harris stole the property, she enlisted Kurlander to help her facilitate its sale,” the office said. “The organization subsequently paid Harris and Kurlander each $20,000 for the stolen property.”

Less than two weeks before the 2020 election, some of the diary — which had been missing — was published online on a right-wing website.

Project Veritas, which did not publish the diary, claimed that it belonged to Ashley Biden, then 38, and that it had been provided to the organization by a “whistleblower.”

The group claimed the diary had been legally obtained, but the FBI launched an investigation into how the diary ended up in the organization’s hands, and agents conducted two searches at the homes of Project Veritas associates in 2021.

Harris’s sentencing comes after months of rescheduling that tested the prosecution. Her original sentencing date was scheduled for Dec. 6, 2022. Harris then requested that her sentencing be rescheduled 10 more times, often citing child-care needs, according to court records.

In one of those requests — a day before she was set to be sentenced — Harris’s attorneys said she was “sick, has no child-care and cannot appear tomorrow.”

Harris then did not provide a medical record in a “timely” manner, court records state, and officials later learned “that the claim that the defendant had ‘no child-care’ was false.”

“The defendant has repeatedly and consistently engaged in tactics to improperly delay this proceeding, including by misleading the Court with false information to justify belated and unmerited requests for adjournments, refusing to appear when directed and failing to comply with court orders to disclose or produce certain information,” Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a memo sent to Swain last week. “Through this pattern of behavior, the defendant has shown a complete disregard for the Court’s orders and for the orderly administration of this judicial proceeding.”

“The defendant’s flagrant disrespect for the law, including the orders of this Court — even after pleading guilty in this case — demonstrates an abdication of responsibility for her conduct and strongly militates for an incarceratory sentence,” Williams added.

Harris was told to report to prison in July, the AP reported.

Mariana Alfaro contributed to this report.

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

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