The New York Times was sued for defamation by James O’Keefe and Project Veritas in November 2020.
Throughout its 10-year history, Project Veritas has gone 7-0 in court battles.
Project Veritas used videos that exposed information about a ballot harvesting scheme, which has been targeted by New York Times writers Maggie Astor and Tiffany Hsu with allegedly defamatory and incorrect statements about the videos. Astor and Hsu said Project Veritas was part of a coordinated disinformation effort and described the videos as “misleading” and “deceptive.” Additionally, despite the fact that many sources in the video are identified and clear evidence of the scheme, the writers still argued against the validity of Project Veritas’s sources. Yet, it was found that the New York Times conspiracy theories about the videos were based on unverified sources reporter opinion.
After New York state Supreme Court Justice Charles Wood declined to dismiss the Veritas allegations against The New York Times, President Trump congratulated Project Veritas on Tuesday, March 23.
“The facts submitted by Veritas could indicate more than standard, garden variety media bias and support a plausible inference of actual malice,” Wood stated in his ruling last week. The New York Times has been chastised by the justice for confusing the definitions of news and opinion.
Wood decided that the case would proceed because Project Veritas presented ample evidence that when it ran stories about the investigative journalism group, the New York Times may have been motivated by “actual malice” and behaved with “reckless disregard.”
The justice elaborated, “If a writer interjects an opinion in a news article (and will seek to claim legal protections as opinion) it stands to reason that the writer should have an obligation to alert the reader, including a court that may need to determine whether it is factor opinion, that it is opinion.”
The Supreme Court held that tort law should not be used to override the First Amendment of free speech and press rights. By articulating the principle, which now extends to all elected officials and public figures, the Court hoped to provide “breathing space” for the media. The status imposes the higher expectation for public officials was first introduced in New York Times v. Sullivan, requiring proof of “real malice,” in which the media had actual knowledge of a statement’s fabrication or acted recklessly regardless of its accuracy.
On Tuesday, President Trump praised James O’Keefe and Project Veritas for their victory in their defamation lawsuit against the New York Times in person at Mar-a-Lago. Project Veritas’s outstanding work, according to the former president, should continue to be supported.