Dec 25, 2021 - Economy

Judge orders New York Times to get rid of Project Veritas memos

 Project Veritas founder James O'Keefe

Project Veritas founder James O'Keefe. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

A New York judge has upheld an earlier ruling barring the New York Times from publishing or covering documents written by a lawyer for the conservative group Project Veritas, the Times reported.

Why it matters: The ruling, which now also requires the paper to get rid of physical and electronic copies of the documents, is "a highly unusual and astonishingly broad injunction against a news organization," the paper said in a Friday editorial.

  • The Times said they would immediately seek a stay and file an appeal. The documents in question were "obtained legally in the ordinary course of reporting," Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger said in a statement Friday, per the paper.
  • Project Veritas contended the documents were protected by attorney-client privilege.
  • Justice Charles Wood of State Supreme Court in Westchester County said the documents were "not fodder for public consideration and consumption."
  • The order stems from a 2020 libel suit Project Veritas filed against the Times, but the memos predate that case "by several years," the Times reported.

What they're saying: “This ruling should raise alarms not just for advocates of press freedoms but for anyone concerned about the dangers of government overreach into what the public can and cannot know,” Sulzberger said.

The other side: Elizabeth Locke, a lawyer for Project Veritas, said the Times’s "behavior was irregular and outside the boundaries of law."

  • "The court’s thoughtful and well-researched opinion is a victory for the First Amendment for all journalists and affirms the sanctity of the attorney-client relationship.”
Go deeper