Ashley Biden described the “pain” of diary theft in an unsealed letter to the judge

American social worker and daughter of US President Ashley Biden speaks on stage during the Human Rights Campaign 2024 Los Angeles Dinner at the Fairmont Century Plaza in Los Angeles, March 23, 2024.

Michael Tran | AFP | Getty Images

Ashley Biden, the daughter of President Joe Biden, wrote to a judge to say she would not attend the criminal sentencing earlier this month of the woman who stole her diary because “it would only increase my pain.”

The highly emotional letter was unveiled by U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain, more than three weeks after the judge sentenced Aimee Harris to one month in jail and three months of house arrest.

“My goal in asking Your Honor to impose a prison sentence is to ensure that another woman is never bullied and shamed like this again,” Biden wrote. 'The despair I have often felt will never really go away. But I ask Your Honor to hold Ms. Harris accountable so that she thinks twice before doing this to someone else.”

Biden also asked Swain to sentence the Florida resident to prison followed by a lengthy probation period, according to the letter released Thursday in Manhattan federal court.

The letter was unsealed at the request of The New York Times, whose lawyer David McCaw noted to Swain that Biden and prosecutors had no objection to the letter being made public, while Harris took no position on the request.

Harris, 41, was also ordered to serve three years of probation and forfeit the $20,000 she received for the sale of the stolen diary.

Harris pleaded guilty in August 2022 to conspiring two years earlier with Robert Kurlander, 61, to steal Biden's diary and other items from the Florida home where Biden had previously lived and transport them across state lines for sale to the right-wing group Project. Veritas.

Project Veritas did not publish the diary, but another right-wing party did, shortly before the 2020 presidential election, which Joe Biden won.

US President Joe Biden and his daughter Ashley Biden attend a Juneteenth concert at the White House in Washington, US, June 13, 2023.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

Harris was motivated to steal the diary to politically harm President Biden, a prosecutor said at her sentencing.

Kurlander, who also pleaded guilty in the case, is expected to be sentenced on October 25.

A lawyer for Biden attended Harris' sentencing on April 9. The attorney had said they would not add anything to what Biden said in her letter to Sweeney.

“I am deeply saddened that I even have to write this letter because my personal private diary was stolen and sold for a profit,” Biden wrote in that April 8 letter.

“The purpose of the theft, I assume, was to be able to spread grotesque lies by distorting the thoughts of my consciousness,” Biden wrote. “The reason I have decided not to attend tomorrow's sentencing in person is because it would only increase my pain. Nevertheless, I write to ask Your Honor to sentence the defendant to a term of imprisonment.”

Biden said Harris' theft of her diary and other items “is one of the most heinous forms of bullying, not to mention a complete violation of my privacy and personal dignity.”

“After being the victim of a crime in my early 20s, I developed PTSD,” Biden wrote, without detailing the nature of that crime.

“The stolen diary was part of my efforts to heal. I am a private citizen who is only being targeted because my father happened to want to be president. In other words, the extensive work I did to get over my trauma was undone. by the actions of Ms. Harris.”

US President Joe Biden and his daughter Ashley Biden attend a Juneteenth concert at the White House in Washington, US, June 13, 2023.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

Biden also wrote, “The defendant's actions have created a constant environment of fear, anxiety and intimidation in which my innermost thoughts are constantly distorted and manipulated.”

She also wrote that despite the theft happening more than three years ago, as Joe Biden was running for president, “because of the publicity it attracted — just as Ms. Harris intended — I am continually retraumatized by it.”

“I will forever have to deal with the fact that my personal diary is viewable online,” Biden wrote. “Repeatedly, I hear others grossly misinterpret my once private writings and make false accusations that discredit my character and that of the people I love.”

“Her actions were not only a retraumatization for me, but were also a horrific trauma in themselves. This ongoing harm is a direct result of Ms. Harris' intentional actions,” the letter said.

Asking Sweeney to sentence Harris to jail time and a lengthy probation period, Ashley wrote, “She must be held accountable for what she did.”

“She has demonstrated not only a complete lack of morality, but also any respect for the rule of law,” Biden wrote. “I've spent much of my life standing up for those who can't find their voice. I'm fortunate to have found mine, and I use it today – and every day – to ensure that bullies are put to be held accountable.”

“Finally, I fear that a non-incarceration sentence will send the message – to her and to others like her – that it is okay to violate and exploit others for your own personal gain, regardless of the humiliation and pain it causes ,” said Biden. wrote. “Please send a message that this type of harmful criminal action will not be tolerated.”

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