A trial court in Westchester County, New York State, has extended the temporary ban it had previously imposed until Nov. 18 on the New York Times publishing material about the group Project Veritas, according to Great Game India.
Judge Charles Wood announced that the ban will be extended until at least Dec. 1. He must also assess whether to order the Times to remove information from an article it published Nov. 11, for which the conservative activist group sued it last year for defamation.
The article allegedly revealed how the investigative group worked with its lawyers to “gauge how far its deceptive reporting practices can go before running afoul of federal laws.”
The information contained in the Times article was from a set of documents written by Benjamin Barr, an attorney for Project Veritas. The research group sued the left-leaning newspaper for improperly obtaining privileged attorney-client communications and then publishing them with the intent to damage an adversary in litigation.
Project Veritas asked Judge Wood to intervene in the case, which is still awaiting resolution and in which Benjamin Barr himself is acting as the conservative group’s legal representative.
Judge Wood said at the start of the hearing that the case involved a clash between two fundamental principles of law: “freedom of speech and freedom of the press, and attorney-client privilege.”
Meanwhile, Joel Kurtzberg, the lawyer representing the NY Times in this litigation, told Wood that a long-term ban, in this case, could have far-reaching negative consequences for journalists. He said Project Veritas is seeking to limit what journalists report and do outside of this litigation, not about using the information in the case itself.
Libby Locke, an attorney for Project Veritas, responded to Kurtzberg by saying that the Times’ use of the memos “compromises the uninhibited, robust communication between a client and lawyer.”
Project Veritas is also the subject of a Justice Department investigation into its possible role in the theft of a diary of President Joe Biden’s daughter Ashley. Earlier this month, the FBI raided the homes of three people associated with the journalism group that uses undercover reporters and hidden cameras to report its stories.
Immediately, details of confidential legal communications stored on the cell phone of Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe were published in The New York Times.
In 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the media cannot be held liable for publishing information that another person obtained illegally, as long as the media itself did not obtain the material illegally.
O’Keefe has denied stealing the diary, saying he turned it over to police after it was offered to him in September 2020 by anonymous “tipsters” through his lawyers. He said that Project Veritas could not verify that the diary belonged to Ms. Biden and did not publish it.
Still, O’Keefe said officers handcuffed him and confiscated two of his cell phones in the raid on his Westchester County, N.Y., home.