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Judge orders New York Times to return Project Veritas memos

 | Breaking News Updates

Judge orders New York Times to return Project Veritas memos

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In an unusual written decision, Westchester County Supreme Court Judge Charles Wood ordered the New York Times to return to Project Veritas all physical copies of legal notes prepared by one of the class attorneys and destroy the versions. electronic.

Wood issued a temporary order against The New York Times last month, drawing criticism from press freedom advocates.

Project Veritas, led by James O’Keefe, used what critics see as deceptive tactics like covert audio recording to expose what it describes as liberal media bias. The group is the subject of a Justice Department investigation into its possible role in the theft of a diary of President Joe Biden’s daughter, Ashley, whose pages were published on a right-wing website.

Project Veritas opposed a Nov. 11 Times article that drew on legal memos and claimed to reveal how the group was working with its lawyers to “assess how far its deceptive reporting practices can go before breaking any laws federal “.

Wood said in Friday’s ruling that Project Veritas legal memos were not a matter of public interest and that the group had the right to keep them private, which outweighed concerns about freedom of the public. hurry.

“Steadfast loyalty and vigilance in protecting First Amendment freedoms cannot be permitted to repeal fundamental protections of solicitor-client privilege or fundamental right to privacy,” Wood wrote.

AG Sulzberger, publisher of the New York Times, said the newspaper would appeal the decision.

Sulzberger said the ruling prevented The Times from publishing newsworthy information that had been obtained legally in the ordinary course of reporting.

“In addition to imposing this unconstitutional prior restriction, the judge went even further (and) ordered that we return this material, a move without apparent precedent and which could present obvious risks to exposing sources if allowed. to stay, ”says Sulzberger.

Libby Locke, an attorney for Project Veritas, said in a statement that the New York Times’ behavior was “irregular” and that the ruling confirms that view.

“The New York Times has long forgotten the meaning of journalism it claims to espouse, and instead has become a vehicle for the pursuit of a partisan political agenda,” Locke said.

Project Veritas has been engaged in defamation litigation against the New York Times since last year, when the newspaper ran an article calling the group’s work “misleading.”

The Times had not faced any restrictions since 1971, when the Nixon administration tried unsuccessfully to block publication of the Pentagon Papers detailing US military involvement in Vietnam.

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