News & Politics

NYT Reporter Under Investigation for Breaking into GOP Staffer's Home

Virginia GOP senatorial hopeful, Corey Stewart in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

Prince William County Police are investigating allegations that a New York Times reporter broke into the apartment of a former campaign staffer of Corey Stewart, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Virginia, Inside NOVA reported.

Stewart’s campaign issued a news release Thursday alleging that reporter Stephanie Saul broke into former staff member Brian Landrum’s apartment “in search of a story.”

Landrum is now a volunteer for the campaign and is serving part-time as an adviser to Stewart, according to Inside NOVA. Stewart is currently chairman at-large of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors.

Big League Politics reported last night that Landrum and a house guest filed the police report after the house guest witnessed an intruder identified as NYT reporter Stephanie Saul inside Landrum’s apartment Wednesday, July 18, at 2:15 p.m. Landrum was reportedly at work at the time.

The eyewitness was listening to music when she heard rustling, turned around, and saw a female in Landrum’s kitchen. The woman was turning to leave. The kitchen is 5 to 10 feet from the apartment’s threshold. The apartment is a secured facility with key fob doors. Non-residents are not allowed in the apartment building without consent. Access to the apartment building requires a key fob.

Brian Landrum said that he does not know Stephanie Saul. The apartment building’s office reported that Ms. Saul asked about Landrum at the front desk, saying she was trying to find Landrum and that he did not answer his door when she knocked. The office said that they did not allow Stephanie Saul into the building, and they do not know how she entered the building at this time.

According to the house guest, Saul asked if Landrum was there because she wanted to ask him some questions. When told that he was at work, she asked when he would be back. Saul reportedly then asked the house guest if she would give him a note requesting an interview.

The house guest told Big League Politics that she was confused and “pretty shaken up” by the encounter, and wasn’t sure how to respond.

“Working in politics, you become accustomed to the rough-and-tumble nature of the sport. But never in a million years could I have anticipated the New York Times sending a reporter to break into my apartment looking for a story. We’re working with police investigators, and look forward to justice being served,” Landrum said in a statement.

A spokesperson for the Times denied the allegations, calling them “entirely false.”

Danielle Rhoades Ha, vice president of communications for The New York Times Company, told Inside NOVA in an email Thursday that Saul did go to Landrum Associates in Woodbridge to look for Landrum, but did not enter the apartment.

“She was told by a woman who opened the door that he was not present,” Ha said. “She left a note with the woman for Mr. Landrum asking him to call. At no time did she enter the premises.”

Prince William County Police confirmed that officers responded to a complaint at Landrum’s apartment in Woodbridge on Wednesday, July 18, at around 2:30 p.m., but would not identify the individuals involved, or address the activity that prompted the call to police.

“The matter is still under investigation and no charges have been placed at this time,” Sgt. Jonathan Perok, a police spokesperson, told Inside NOVA in an email Thursday.

Saul was apparently interested in following up on allegations that Landrum was involved with a Facebook chat group with white nationalist Jason Kessler.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that chat records have surfaced indicating that Landrum was one of around two dozen individuals listed in a private discussion group where Kessler and other far-right activists “were discussing plans for a second rally in Charlottesville.”

The chat logs, which run from May 6 to June 20 of this year, do not show the Landrum account taking part in planning or discussing the rally or expressing agreement with Kessler’s beliefs.

In a statement, Landrum denied that he was involved in talks of a second rally “at any point or in any capacity.”

“People get invited to Facebook group chats all the time without their permission,” Landrum said in a phone interview with the Times-Dispatch on July 5.

“The fake news media will stop at nothing to destroy Republicans, as we’ve seen with their coverage of President Trump and others over the last few years,” Stewart said in a news release. “Far left media from New York to Richmond have been working overtime to invent wild stories to try to give advantage to Tim Kaine, and now they’re breaking into our team’s homes in pursuit of their narrative.”

According to Big League Politics, the Prince William County magistrate told Landrum that “Saul could be charged with misdemeanor unlawful entry, or potentially felony breaking and entering.”