On Friday, the New York Supreme Court issued an opinion that the New York Times (NYT) improperly published privileged legal documents that belong to Project Veritas. This was in the midst of a suit by Project Veritas against the NYT for defamation, and the paper published a story last month containing internal legal memos in which Project Veritas employees and attorneys discussed the outfit’s journalistic tactics. Project Veritas had argued that the NYT published the documents to harm their opponents in the ongoing litigation.
The opinion on Friday, wrote by Justice Charles Wood, the NYT gathered the Veritas communications through “irregular” means: “The court finds that Project Veritas has met its burden of showing that the subject memoranda were obtained by irregular means, if not both irregular and improper.” This coming after a judge ruled in November that the NYT could no longer publish pieces containing internal communications of Project Veritas while the two are engaged in litigation.
The opinion continued saying, “Like the attorney-client privilege, the First Amendment is vital to our republic, but also has limits. For even though the broad sweep of the First Amendment seems to prohibit all restraints on free expression, this Court has observed that freedom of speech does not comprehend the right to speak on any subject at any time.”
After Project Veritas employees were raided by the FBI for its involvement in a case in which they obtained an old diary belonging to Ashley Biden, the NYT was the first outlet to be aware of the raid and contact founder James O’Keefe for comment. Project Veritas has since alleged that there is a leak within the FBI or the Department of Justice to the NYT.
In a tweet from Dhillon Law firm on Friday, “Christmas came early for our client Project Veritas and James O’Keefe today!” New York trial court issued a devastating opinion ruling that the New York Times improperly obtained and published its litigation adversary’s non-waived privileged communications.
Project Veritas attorney Libby Locke commented “The New York Times has long forgotten the meaning of the journalism it claims to espouse, and has instead become a vehicle for the prosecution of a partisan political agenda. Friday’s ruling affirms that the NYT’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.”