A woman who made false claims about Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore to a Washington Post reporter is believed to have worked with “an organization that targets the mainstream news media and left-leaning groups,” according to The Washington Post.
The woman, Jaime T. Phillips, alleged in multiple interviews that Moore impregnated her when she was a teenager. She also asked Post reporters how her claims would affect Moore's candidacy if she decided to go public.
Post reporters, however, noticed flaws in Phillips's story. Video footage shows Stephanie McCrummen pressing her about her story at a restaurant in Alexandria, Virginia, last Wednesday.
On Monday morning, Phillips was seen walking into the New York offices of Project Veritas. Run by James O'Keefe, a self-described “guerrilla journalist,” the group is known to set up sting operations to expose media bias through audio and video recordings, per the Post.
When confronted, O'Keefe himself avoided questions.
“I am not doing an interview right now, so I'm not going to say a word,” O'Keefe said outside a Mamaroneck, New York, storefront.
Once Phillips was seen entering the office, the Post says it decided to publish Phillips's off-the-record comments.
“We always honor 'off-the-record' agreements when they're entered into in good faith,” executive editor Martin Baron explained. “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.”
Viewed as a whole, the events that unfolded “illustrate the lengths to which activists have gone to try to discredit media outlets for reporting on allegations from multiple women that Moore pursued them when they were teenagers and he was in his early 30s,” the Post says.
Moore himself threatened to sue the newspaper, calling the allegations “fake news,” according to the Associated Press.
Alabama's special election to fill the Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions is slated for Dec. 12.