To what lengths will supporters of Roy Moore go in order to discredit journalists who are reporting on all the allegations made against Moore by women who say he pursued relationships with them when they were just teenagers and he was a man in his 30s? Apparently, far enough to try to plant a fake story just to see if reporters will take the bait and run with it.
According to the Washington Post, a woman approached the paper with a dramatic and false story claiming that she had been impregnated as a teen by Roy Moore, the Alabama Republican running for a seat in the U.S. Senate. However, it turns out the woman may, in fact, be working with Project Veritas, an organization that targets mainstream news media and left-leaning groups using “undercover stings” in an attempt to expose what it says is media bias.
The Post interviewed the woman—identified as Jaime T. Phillips—over the course of two weeks, during which she told reporters that she had been in a sexual relationship with Moore as a teen that led to her having an abortion in 1992 when she was 15. During those interviews, she repeatedly questioned what impact her claims would have on Moore’s Senate candidacy if she went public.
According to the Post, its reporters confronted Phillips about inconsistencies in her story and an internet posting that seemed to raise doubts about her motivations for coming to the news outlet with her story. Phillips insisted that she was not working with any organization that targets journalists.
On Monday morning, however, she was seen walking into the New York offices of Project Veritas. Shortly after she was seen going inside, a Post reporter attempted to ask questions of Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe—who himself was convicted of a misdemeanor in 2010 because he tried to use a fake identity to get inside a federal building during a previous “sting.”
O’Keefe declined to answer questions about Phillips—including whether or not she was employed by Project Veritas—as well as questions about whether he was working with Moore, former White House adviser and Moore supporter Steve Bannon, or Republican strategists.
“I am not doing an interview right now, so I’m not going to say a word,” O’Keefe told the Post.
For her part, Phillips did not respond to calls Monday morning, and her car remained parked in the Project Veritas parking lot for more than an hour.
Oh, and the internet posting that raised suspicions about her in the first place? A GoFundMe campaign page from May 29, made by someone with her name, that said: “I’m moving to New York! I’ve accepted a job to work in the conservative media movement to combat the lies and deceipt [sic] 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.”
When confronted about the GoFundMe page, Phillips said she had planned to take a job with the Daily Caller, but it fell through. That information was refuted by Paul Conner, executive editor of the Daily Caller, who told the Post that no one at his organization had ever interviewed Phillips for a job.
Phillips then attempted to “cancel” her story with the Post.
“I think I probably just want to cancel and not go through with it at this point,” Phillips told Post reporter Stephanie McCrummen on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
“I’m not going to answer any more questions,” she said. “I think I’m just going to go.”
By 7 p.m. that evening, the GoFundMe campaign was gone as well.
“Campaign is complete and no longer active,” a message on the page read.
Read more at the Washington Post.