NY Supreme Court, noting that “‘Hit and run’ journalism” is not protected, rules New York Times may have “improper[ly]” obtained PV’s attorney-client memos before publishing them “ahead of the deadline it had set,” and ORDERS the Times to (1) return the memos to PV; (2) destroy all copies of the memos it has, including removing them “from the internet”; (3) retrieve copies of the memos it provided to third parties including Columbia Journalism Professor Bill Grueskin; (4) not use the memos in PV’s defamation lawsuit against the Times; and (5) confirm its compliance within 10 days. Merry Christmas, Dean Baquet.
The Court acknowledged the Times’ argument that if it cannot publish our private attorney-client communications, what then can it do, and reminded the Times that “The Times is perfectly free to investigate, uncover, research, interview, photograph, record, report, publish, opine, expose or ignore whatever aspects of Project Veritas its editors in their sole discretion deem newsworthy, without utilizing Project Veritas’ attorney-client privileged memoranda.”
The memos, ruled the court, simply are not a matter of public concern and instead are “typical, garden variety, basic attorney-client advice that undoubtedly is given at nearly every major media outlet in America, including between the Times and its own counsel.”
Although many decried the Court’s actions as a prior restraint, the Court noted that granting Veritas’ motion was actually a victory for the First Amendment: “[T]his is no defeat for the First Amendment. For it would indeed be a Pyrrhic victory for the great principles of free expression if the Amendment’s safeguarding of the media’s nearly unfettered right to broadcast issues concerning public affairs were confused with the attempt to constitutionalize the publication of the private, privileged communication that is presented here.”
The Court simply felt it could not sit back and let the Times run roughshod over the attorney-client privilege so sacrosanct in our society. “The Times’ ‘shot across the bow’ of their litigation adversary cries out for court intervention, to protect the integrity of the judicial process[.] … [T]he court in its discretion must fashion an appropriate sanction that will adequately redress the violation.”
About Project Veritas
James O’Keefe established Project Veritas in 2010 as a non-profit journalism enterprise to continue his undercover reporting work. Today, Project Veritas investigates and exposes corruption, dishonesty, self-dealing, waste, fraud, and other misconduct in both public and private institutions to achieve a more ethical and transparent society and to engage in litigation to: protect, defend and expand human and civil rights secured by law, specifically First Amendment rights including promoting the free exchange of ideas in a digital world; combat and defeat censorship of any ideology; promote truthful reporting; and defend freedom of speech and association issues including the right to anonymity. O’Keefe serves as the CEO and Chairman of the Board so that he can continue to lead and teach his fellow journalists, as well as protect and nurture the Project Veritas culture.
Project Veritas is a registered 501(c)3 organization. Project Veritas does not advocate specific resolutions to the issues raised through its investigations.
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