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Friday, December 3, 2021

Judge Seeks To Block New York Times’ Coverage Of Veritas Project

On Thursday, a New York City trial judge ordered The New York Times to temporarily refrain from publishing or searching for certain documents associated with the conservative group Project Veritas, in an unusual case in which the court blocked coverage by a major news organization.

The ruling sparked immediate concern by First Amendment supporters who called it a violation of basic constitutional guarantees to protect journalists, a view echoed by The Times. Project Veritas issued a statement in support of the order, arguing that it did not constitute a serious infringement of the newspaper’s rights.

The judge’s ruling is part of a pending libel suit filed by Project Veritas against The Times in 2020. The lawsuit accuses the newspaper of defamation of Project Veritas in its coverage of a video created by a group that made unverified allegations of voter fraud in Minnesota.

The Veritas Project, led by provocateur James O’Keeffe, frequently conducts special operations, including the use of false identities and hidden cameras, to thwart democratic campaigns, union organizations, news agencies and other organizations. This is the subject of a DOJ investigation into his possible involvement in the alleged theft of a diary that appears to have belonged to President Biden’s daughter, Ashley.

Theodore J. Boutrus, Jr., a lawyer representing media outlets including CNN, called the ruling “ludicrous.”

“Despite the fact that this is temporary, the Supreme Court has declared that even the most modest, minute-to-minute deprivation of these rights under the First Amendment is unacceptable,” Mr. Butrus said. “Going further and suggesting a news-gathering limit, I’ve never heard of that.”

In a Nov.11 article on the Justice Department’s investigation, The Times published excerpts from a memo prepared by a Project Veritas attorney that explained how the group was involved in fraudulent activities such as the creation of false documents while avoiding any violation of federal law. law.

These memos appeared several years earlier than The Times in the libel case. But on Wednesday, Project Veritas filed a motion alleging that The Times violated its attorney privilege by circulating memos and accused the newspaper of trying to embarrass an opponent. (Along with the written excerpts, images of the memoranda were briefly posted on The Times website on November 11. A Times spokeswoman said this was inadvertent and that the images were removed after the editors discovered the error.)

On Thursday, Trial Judge Charles D. Wood of the State Supreme Court in Westchester County ordered The Times to “immediately isolate, defend and refrain” from distributing any material prepared by a Project Veritas attorney. In addition, Judge Wood directed The Times to “cease any further efforts to collect or acquire” the material, effectively preventing the newspaper from covering the matter.

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The order was to remain in effect until next week’s hearing. The Times planned to immediately oppose this in an appellate court.

“This ruling is unconstitutional and sets a dangerous precedent,” The Times’ executive editor Dean Bake wrote on Thursday.

“When a court silences journalism, it lets citizens down and undermines their right to know,” Mr. Bake wrote. “The Supreme Court made this clear in the Pentagon Papers case, which was a landmark ruling against a prior restriction banning the publication of noteworthy journalism. This principle is clearly applicable here. We are seeking an immediate review of this decision. “

Earlier this month, federal agents conducted court-ordered searches at locations in New York and Westchester County associated with Project Veritas, including Mr. O’Keefe’s home, as part of an investigation into how the diary belongs to Mr. -on Biden surfaced publicly in the days leading up to the 2020 election.

Project Veritas lawyers said the group received the diary from two unknown people and that the group believes the diary was obtained legally. The warrant used in the search of Mr. O’Keefe’s home indicated that federal authorities believed the property had been stolen.

Project Veritas sought to present itself as a journalistic organization protected by First Amendment rights granted to the media. The American Civil Liberties Union criticized the Justice Department for “invasive searches and seizures” of property associated with the group, although the ACLU added that “reasonable observers may not view their activities as journalism at all.”

Mr O’Keefe, in his own statement on Thursday, suggested that The Times’ coverage of the Justice Department searches was biased. “The newspaper needs to decide whether it stands for freedom of the press for all or only for itself, because it cannot have both sides,” wrote Mr. O’Keeffe.

Among other targets, Mr. O’Keefe said he is determined to expose what he calls a liberal bias in mainstream media and big tech companies like Google and Facebook.

Project Veritas admitted to having discussed the diary with sources before deciding not to publish it. The right-wing website later posted the photos, which it claimed were images of the diary, claiming they were sourced from a person working for a media organization that chose not to publish the story.

This right-hand website, National File, had several links to Project Veritas. Mr. O’Keefe was once the president of a company registered at the same address as the company that owns a right-wing website. The website owner also has a Wyoming address with a firm run by former British spy Richard Seddon, who trained Project Veritas in espionage tactics.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
World Nation News is a digital news portal website. Which provides important and latest breaking news updates to our audience in an effective and efficient ways, like world’s top stories, entertainment, sports, technology and much more news.
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