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- A woman approached The Washington Post claiming to have had a sexual relationship with Roy Moore, the embattled Republican Alabama Senate nominee whose campaign has been roiled by multiple allegations of sexual harassment.
- During interviews, the woman insisted on getting a guarantee that Moore would lose the December 12 special election if The Post reported her story.
- The Post conducted an extensive background check and investigation, during which the woman’s claims were debunked.
A woman who posed as a victim of Roy Moore, the embattled Republican Alabama Senate candidate whose campaign has been roiled by multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assault, appeared to be involved in a sting operation meant to disgrace The Washington Post, the newspaper reported Monday.
During a two-week period, the woman, who said her name was Jaime Phillips, reportedly contacted two of The Post’s reporters shortly after the newspaper broke the initial story on the sexual harassment allegations against Moore. Phillips’ account went beyond The Post’s original reporting and alleged that, in 1992, she had a “secret” sexual relationship with Moore and became pregnant when she was 15.
“I knew it wasn’t right, but I didn’t care,” Phillips reportedly told The Post’s reporters during an interview.
Phillips reportedly asked for a guarantee that Moore would lose the special election if she told her account.
“So my whole things is, like, I want him to be completely taken out of the race …” Phillips reportedly said to The Post. “And I really expected that was going to happen, and now it’s not. So, I don’t know what you think about that.”
Beth Reinhard, one of the reporters who interviewed Phillips, said in a text message that “she could not predict what the impact would be,” according to The Post.
Phillips then alleged in a text message that she felt “anxiety & negative energy” after a meeting with Reinhard, and said she wanted to meet with Stephanie McCrummen, a Post reporter who reported the first allegations against Roy Moore.
“I’d rather go to another paper than talk to you again,” Phillips said to Reinhard, according to The Post.
Suspicions arose after a Post researcher discovered that a GoFundMe.com fundraiser from someone named Jaime Phillips was soliciting donations to fund a move to New York, to “work in the conservative media movement to combat the lies and deceit of the liberal [mainstream media],” the archived GoFundMe page described.
“Um, yeah, I was looking to take a job last summer in New York, but it fell through,” Phillips said after she was confronted with details about the GoFundMe.com page. “Yeah, it was going to be with the Daily Caller, but it ended up falling through, so I wasn’t able to do it.”
Representatives from the Daily Caller denied having interviewed anyone named Jaime Phillips, The Post reported.
“I think I probably just want to cancel and not go through with it at this point,” Phillips said to McCrummen. “I’m not going to answer any more questions.”
Martin Baron, The Post’s executive editor, made the decision to publish Phillips’ comments, which were previously off-the-record.
“We always honor ‘off-the-record’ agreements when they’re entered into in good faith,” Baron said in The Post. “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,” Baron said.
On Monday afternoon, James O’Keefe, Project Veritas’ founder, defended the group by launching a series of attacks against The Post.
“Hitting export on hidden camera footage into Washington Post shortly,” O’Keefe wrote on Twitter. “Project Veritas vs Bezos 100mm monopoly. Fasten your seat belts.”
O’Keefe reportedly put out another statement Monday, in which he appeared to confirm that the organization attempted to swindle the Post: “Following months of undercover work within The Washington Post, our investigative journalist embedded within the publication had their cover blown.”