Judge upholds earlier ruling against New York Times on Project Veritas

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A New York judge upheld his earlier ruling on Friday banning the New York Times from publishing documents prepared by a lawyer for the right-wing group Project Veritas, which is suing the news organization for defamation.

Westchester County State Supreme Court Justice Charles Wood sided with Project Veritas in his ruling released Friday, ordering the publication to turn over all physical copies of the documents in question and remove all digital versions.

The restriction is functionally a prior restriction of The Times, a limit seldom applied to news organizations. He drew criticism from supporters of the First Amendment and an ardent editorial of the Times, which said it was a dangerous decision.

The Times said it will seek a stay of the decision and is considering appealing.

“This move should alert not only press freedom advocates, but anyone concerned about the dangers of excessive government intrusion into what the public may and may not know,” the editor said. Times, AG Sulzberger, in a statement. declaration.

“In defiance of the law settled in the Pentagon Papers case, this judge banned The Times from publishing information about an important and influential organization that was obtained legally in the normal course of reporting,” he added. .

The restriction on the Times stems from a libel lawsuit filed against the newspaper in 2020.

Documents prepared by Project Veritas attorney Benjamin Barr ahead of the libel case were cited in a November article about a Justice Department investigation into the group’s potential role in the theft of a diary belonging to Ashley Biden, President BidenJoe Biden Harris tests negative for COVID-19 after close contact with Help Standing with Joe Manchin Holiday calling on Biden: “Merry Christmas and let’s go Brandon” MOREthe daughter of.

Project Veritas argued that the content of Barr’s memos, while prepared in advance, related to the legal issues in the case. According to the organization led by James O’Keefe, the publication of reports including the memos was an attempt to embarrass the newspaper’s adversary in litigation.

Wood had ordered the Times last month to temporarily stop broadcasting the memos.

In the ruling released Friday, Wood, who was first elected to the Supreme Court in 2009, determined the documents were protected by solicitor-client privilege.

“The Times is perfectly free to investigate, discover, research, interview, photograph, record, report, publish, express, exhibit or ignore any aspect of Project Veritas that its editors consider it newsworthy in their sole discretion, without utilizing Project Veritas’ preferred attorney-client. memorandums, ”he wrote.

O’Keefe in a statement lambasted The Times for publishing what he described as “disinformation” about Project Veritas.

“The Times is so blinded by its hatred of Project Veritas that anything it does results in self-inflicted injury,” added O’Keefe.

The organization has a long history of using hidden cameras and deceptive techniques to try to embarrass liberal lawmakers and mainstream news outlets.

This story was updated at 12:18 pm


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