A woman claiming she was impregnated by Roy Moore when she was 15 has been outed by the Washington Post as a fraud, with the paper determining over the course of two weeks that she’s likely an employee of professional sting outfit Project Veritas.
The set-up was an apparent effort to discredit the paper’s reporting on several of the high-profile sexual assault stories that have exploded into public view in the weeks following the Harvey Weinstein scandal, among them the Post’s report that Moore initiated sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl.
Project Veritas, started by conservative activist James O’Keefe, uses fake identities and secret recordings to promote its agenda, though the details of the Post story reveal that their tactics promptly crumbled after minimal journalistic pushback. Beth Reinhard, a reporter on the Moore story, received an email from a woman named Jaime Phillips, who said Moore had impregnated her when she was a teenager. Reinhard met Phillips at a mall in Virginia, where she shared her story and “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.
Later that day, Phillips told Reinhard that she felt “anxiety & negative energy after our meeting,” text messages show. “You just didn’t convince me that I should come forward,” she wrote.
Reinhard replied, “I’m so sorry but I want to be straight with you about the fact-checking process and the fact that we can’t guarantee what will happen as a result of another story.”
Other aspects of Phillips’ story failed to pass the smell test, but the truly inane part came when a Post researcher found an online fundraising campaign from someone named... Jaime Phillips:
“I’m moving to New York!” the May 29 appeal said. “I’ve accepted a job to work in the conservative media movement to combat the lies and deceipt of the liberal MSM. I’ll be using my skills as a researcher and fact-checker to help our movement. I was laid off from my mortgage job a few months ago and came across the opportunity to change my career path.”
The Post brought a printout of the campaign to their following meeting with Phillips, who quickly grew flustered. Knowing she was caught, she opted out of the story. Post reporters tried to confirm with O’Keefe that Phillips was a Project Veritas employee, though he evaded questioning.
“Do you like our techniques? Have you been inspired by Project Veritas? I think it’s really cute that you guys are borrowing our techniques,” he said to the reporter.
The Post adds that it was also accused by at least two parties of offering to pay sources to make damaging remarks about Moore. The paper points out that like many outlets, it does not pay people for information.