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Scripps News speaks with Lauren Windsor, who secretly recorded Justice Samuel Alito

Lauren Windsor is a documentary filmmaker who posed as a conservative activist to record Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito
Posted at 6:40 PM, Jun 13, 2024

The fallout continues surrounding comments by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito to a liberal journalist who secretly recorded him at a Supreme Court gala.

Lauren Windsor is a documentary filmmaker and executive producer of the grassroots political show The Undercurrent, who posed as a conservative activist at the gala. She used her own name to access the event.

On Thursday, Scripps News spoke with Windsor about her work and its reception.

Alito faces attention from the media

"I think that he very much is taking a lot of media scrutiny right now," Windsor told Scripps News. "Whether or not that's conspiratorial, I can't see into his mind. I wouldn't speculate on that."

"I perceived from the multiple conversations I had with him, he definitely was feeling aggrieved by the media scrutiny," she added.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

Supreme Court

Secret recording of Justice Samuel Alito raises questions about impartiality

Scripps News Staff
9:28 AM, Jun 11, 2024

Would you release more of the recording?

"The majority of the audio of that conversation is out there," Windsor said. "The only pieces that are missing are a conversation with a judge who interrupted us. To the degree that I can protect people who are civilians, who didn't have any part of this knowingly, I'm trying to expose conversations with people in power. Is a judge from New York a person in power? Sure. But this is not 'Let's bring in every person I had a conversation at this dinner with.'"

What was it like getting access to Supreme Court justices?

"$500 is a pretty small amount for access to one of the most powerful people in America, but for the average person spending $500 on a dinner is a lot of money. It was worthwhile in service of getting journalism," Windsor said.

"Having access to that, particularly if you have money, if you are wealthy special interests, it's not a lot of money to invest in getting your voice before someone who might be deciding on a case that you have before the court or an issue that you might be advocating on," she continued.

What drove you to do this?

"It was really the initial reporting from ProPublica on Clarence Thomas that was shocking to me, that we had decades of evidence that he was accepting these lavish gifts from Harlan Crow," she said. "That was the inspiration for it."

On criticism of her methods

"I do feel like [my work] was justified," Windsor said. "I would never purport to invent undercover reporting. James O'Keefe didn't invent undercover reporting. It's been going on for a long time. Maybe it's out of fashion now in traditional journalism circles, but it's definitely something that's been around for a long time. I think that in a time of rampant public corruption, sometimes more extreme measures in journalism are warranted, in particular in cases where there's public officials who are abusing the public trust."