Confronts Her On Their Own Hidden Camera After She Made Ridiculous Slip-up
- Washington Post revealed Monday they had foiled a plot to discredit the paper
- Jamie Phillips, a suspected plant by a conservative group, emailed Post reporter
- Claimed Senate candidate Roy Moore forced her into abortion when she was 15
- However holes in her story raised suspicion and the Post declined to run claims
- Reporters busted Phillips entering the office of right-wing group Project Veritas
- Post claims smear campaign aimed at discrediting previous reports on Moore
The Washington Post has said it busted a woman offering them fake allegations against Roy Moore as part of an intentional scheme to discredit the newspaper by the conservative group Project Veritas.
The newspaper on Monday revealed hidden-camera video of would-be accuser Jamie Phillips struggling to hold her story together when a Post reporter confronted her last week.
Phillip’s dramatic – and unsubstantiated – claim was that Moore, the Republicancandidate for Senate in Alabama, impregnated her when she was 15 and pressured her into an abortion.
The web of deceit came crashing down thanks to a major slip-up by Phillips, who left online footprints that tied her to a group working to ‘combat the lies’ of the ‘liberal MSM (mainstream media)’.
Then on Monday morning, the Post spotted Phillips entering the New York offices of Project Veritas, a conservative group that uses bogus identities and hidden cameras to trick and embarrass its targets.
Washington Post reporter Stephanie McCrummen (left) confronts would-be Moore accuser Jaime Phillips (right) after telling her they are being recorded on video
Phillips claimed, without substantiation, that Moore (pictured at a rally Monday) got her pregnant in 1992, when she was 15, and then drove her to get an abortion
Phillips first contacted Post reporter Beth Reinhard by email on November 10, the day after a bombshell report co-authored by Reinhard revealed claims that Moore sexually touched a 14-year-old girl in the 1970s. Other allegations that he preyed on teen girls in his 30s have emerged in the weeks since.
On Monday, Moore lashed out at the allegations as false but would not take questions from reporters following a campaign speech in Alabama.
Post reporter McCrummen co-authored a previous report with allegations against Moore, but did not believe the new accuser
The insurgent candidate said ‘dirty politics’ are behind the allegations of sexual misconduct against him.
As the controversy first unfolded, Phillip’s opening communication to the Post read: ‘Roy Moore in Alabama… I might know something but I need to keep myself safe. How do we do this?’
The would-be tipster continued communicating with Reinhard and her colleague reporter Stephanie McCrummen for several days, leading to in-person meetings.
Her wild story was that she met Moore when she was 15 in 1992, the year he became a county judge, through a church group in Talladega, Alabama.
She told the reporters that Moore got her pregnant and then drove her get an abortion.
During interviews, Phillips repeatedly pressed Post reporters to say whether they thought her allegations could derail Moore’s campaign and asked for their assurances that her story would prevent his election – a red flag that raised suspicions for them.
James O’Keefe, the founder of Project Veritas, was convicted of a misdemeanor in 2010 for entering a federal building under false pretenses during a previous ‘sting’
Project Veritas, which has been criticized for presenting deceptively edited undercover videos to smear its targets, has been on a recent crusade against the so-called liberal mainstream media.
The group has crowed over hidden camera footage of employees at the New York Times and CNN expressing liberal opinions or dislike of President Donald Trump.
As Phillips advanced her teen pregnancy story to the reporters at the Post, the newspaper’s team of researchers began to notice inconsistencies.
Her cell phone area code was from Alabama, though the 41-year-old claimed she only lived there briefly as a teenager.
The mortgage company that Phillips claimed to work for told the Post that she had never been an employee there.
Then came the smoking gun: Post researchers discovered a fundraising page made by Phillips seeking financial support for a move 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,’ the post from May read.
This fundraising page, which has since been deleted, was the smoking gun that led Post reporters to believe Phillips was part of a Project Veritas sting attempt against them
In a March posting on its Facebook page, New York-based Project Veritas said it was seeking 12 new ‘undercover reporters’. The group uses tactics that most journalists consider unethical, including assuming false identities to trick subjects.
James O’Keefe, the founder of Project Veritas, was convicted of a misdemeanor in 2010 for entering a federal building under false pretenses during a previous ‘sting’.
Another top official at the group 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.
O’Keefe declined to comment when confronted outside his office by Post reporters about the latest alleged ‘sting’ plot.
On Twitter Monday, he appeared to tacitly acknowledge that Project Veritas was behind the failed sting operation, re-tweeting several allies who congratulated him on the attempt.
Armed with their research, Post reporter McCrummen and a video team from the newspaper met with Phillips in an Alexandria, Virginia restaurant on November 22.
Giving Phillips the benefit that Project Veritas does not, McCrummen informed the woman that they were being filmed before producing a print-out of the fundraising page and asking Phillips to explain herself.
Phillips admitted she had created the post and said it was for a job with the Daily Caller that had since fallen through. That publication told the Post it had no knowledge or record of Phillips interviewing for a job there.
Phillips (right) stormed away from the meeting with the Post’s McCrummen after the reporter confronted her with evidence of her attempted deception
Phillips denied being in contact with the Moore campaign, and denied recording the meeting with McCrummen before abruptly cutting off the meeting.
‘I’m not going to answer any more questions,’ she said. ‘I think I’m just going to go.’
The newspaper’s editors made the extraordinary decision to publish and expose Phillip’s off-the-record communications once they were confident she was part of an intentional scam targeting their reporters.
‘We always honor “off-the-record” agreements when they’re entered into in good faith,’ Martin Baron, The Post’s executive editor, told his team of reporters that exposed the plot.
‘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,’ Baron continued.
‘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.’