The controversy surrounding embattled republican Senate hopeful Roy Moore has just gotten a bit more controversial. A woman approached the Washington Post and made claims that she had a sexual relationship with Moore when she was a teenager. It fit the pattern of other claims made against Moore. Almost. When the Post began checking facts, the story fell apart. So why did she make these claims?
The allegations appear to have been made in an attempt to get the Washington Post to publish a false story. In doing so, the other accusations against Moore might also appear false. The woman appears to be working for Project Veritas, a group that uses subterfuge to get behind-the-scenes footage it can use against its targets.
The claims went like this: “In a series of interviews over two weeks,” The Post reports, “the woman, [Jaime T. Phillips], shared a dramatic story about an alleged sexual relationship with Moore in 1992 that led to an abortion when she was 15. During the interviews, she repeatedly pressed Post reporters to give their opinions on the effects that her claims could have on Moore’s candidacy if she went public.”
The report, though, was unsubstantiated. The Post had to do some fact checking. Phillips’ story had some inconsistencies, as did her background. She claimed she had lived in Alabama only a short while, though she had a cell phone number with an Alabama area code.
She had spoken about where she worked, but the Post was unable to confirm that she worked there. When the reporters who spoke to her became suspicious, they began doing their own investigation. Post reporters then tailed Phillips from her home in Conn. 16 miles to a Project Veritas office in Mamaroneck, N.Y.
It became clear, then, that Phillips was faking her story to bait the Post into publishing a bogus story.
“After Phillips was observed entering the Project Veritas office,” they explain, “The Post made the unusual decision to report her previous off-the-record comments.”
“We always honor ‘off-the-record’ agreements when they’re entered into in good faith,” Martin Baron, The Post’s executive editor 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.”
“Alice Crites, a Post researcher who was looking into Phillips’s background, found a document that strongly reinforced the reporters’ suspicions: a Web page for a fundraising campaign by someone with the same name. It was on the website GoFundMe.com under the name Jaime Phillips.”
“I’m moving to New York!” the post read. “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.”
After Post reporters became suspicious, they began asking Phillips more questions. Then they asked her about the GoFundMe page.
“We have a process of doing background, checking backgrounds and this kind of thing, so I wanted to ask you about one thing,” the reporter says.“So I just wanted to ask you if you could explain this, and I also wanted to let you know, Jaime, that this is being recorded and video recorded.”
“Okay,” Phillips said. “Um, yeah, I was looking to take a job last summer in New York, but it fell through. Yeah, it was going to be with the Daily Caller, but it ended up falling through, so I wasn’t able to do it.”
The question was all Philips needed to know she been busted. She stammered her way through a few other questions and then packed up and left. The GoFundMe page was erased soon after.