DailyExpertNews is free to publish documents relating to conservative group Project Veritas after a New York state appeals court temporarily overturned a state judge’s order condemned by First Amendment proponents and journalistic groups .
In a decision made public on Thursday, the appeals court said the order will not be enforced until a formal appeal can be heard. The decision means that The Times can for the time being publish certain documents and is not required to hand over or destroy copies of the documents in its possession.
“We are pleased with today’s decision to discontinue enforcement of previous restraints while the case is appealed, and we look forward to explaining our position on the appeal,” said a Times spokeswoman Danielle. Rhoades Ha, in a statement. “Using prior restraint to ban news gathering and block the publication of newsworthy journalism is unconstitutional. Defamation prosecutors should not use their trial as a tool to silence coverage of them.”
The order of the State Supreme Court’s Appeals Division is part of a libel lawsuit filed in 2020 by Project Veritas and its leader, conservative provocateur James O’Keefe, who accused The Times of defamation.
Project Veritas attorney Elizabeth Locke said in a statement Thursday: “We are pleased that the Appeals Division has rejected The Times’ exaggerated request to withdraw the injunction.” She added that she was “confident” that the appeals court would eventually confirm “that The Times has violated Veritas’ substantial rights by acquiring and publishing privileged attorney-clients amid pending lawsuits.”
In a telephone interview on Thursday, Mr. O’Keefe said, “Defamation is not a First Amendment right; publishing the privileged attorney-client documents of the other litigants is not a protected First Amendment right.
Last year, The Times reported in coverage unrelated to the lawsuit about an attempt by the Justice Department to investigate Project Veritas for a possible role in stealing a diary belonging to President Biden’s daughter, Ashley Biden. While reporting on that investigation, The Times published an article in November that included excerpts from memos prepared by a lawyer for Project Veritas, detailing legal strategies that would allow the group to engage in misleading reporting practices that do not conflict. with federal law.
The memos preceded the libel suit against The Times several years ago. But lawyers for Project Veritas accused The Times of infringing on its attorney-client rights, arguing that the paper’s publication of the memos amounted to an attempt to embarrass an opponent in active lawsuits.
An injunction in November by Justice Charles D. Wood of the State Supreme Court in Westchester County ordered The Times to cease publishing the relevant Project Veritas documents. In December, the judge dismissed The Times’ attempts to overturn the injunction. He also ordered The Times to immediately destroy all electronic copies of the documents and return the physical copies.
Proponents of the paper and the First Amendment have argued that the order amounted to an unconstitutional prior limitation on a journalistic medium’s ability to report on the news.
Mr. O’Keefe and his Project Veritas colleagues became known for using hidden cameras and false identities in videos designed to embarrass Democratic officials, news organizations and unions.