The New York Supreme Court ruled in favor of Project Veritas on Thursday in its defamation lawsuit against the New York Times (NYT). The decision, which again denies the NYT’s motion for a stay, will allow Project Veritas to testify against it.
In November, Project Veritas sued the NYT over its coverage of a video that pointed to individuals allegedly involved in illegal vote harvesting. The individuals named in the video were allegedly linked to Minnesota’s Democratic congressional representative, Ilhan Omar.
The lawsuit referred to two stories published by two NYT authors, one by Maggie Astor and the other by Tiffany Hsu, who characterized the Veritas video as “misleading” and said it was likely part of a “coordinated disinformation campaign.”
Astor and Hsu described the video as “misleading,” “false” and “without verifiable evidence.” The first paragraph of Astor’s NYT story, which ran in the news section, began, “A misleading video released Sunday by the conservative activist James O’Keefe, which claimed through unidentified sources and without verifiable evidence.”
The NYT tried to dismiss the case, but the New York Supreme Court rejected its motion in March of this year and ruled that the terms “misleading” and “disinformation” apply to the actions and claims of its reporters, rather than to the video posted by Veritas.
“If a writer interjects an opinion into a news article (he will later seek to claim legal protections for his opinion), it stands to reason that the author has an obligation to alert the reader (…) that it is an opinion,” Judge Charles Wood said at the time.
“The articles that are the subject of this action called the video ‘disinformation,’ but the dictionary definitions of ‘disinformation’ and ‘misleading’ provided by the defendants’ lawyers certainly apply to the fact that Astor and Hsu did not notice that they injected their opinions into the news, as they now claim,” Wood added.
In that ruling, the court allowed Project Veritas to proceed with the defamation suit against the traditional media.
“Project Veritas will be putting New York Times reporter Maggie Astor and New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet under oath, where they will be forced to answer our questions. Project Veritas will record these depositions and expose them for the world to see,” Project Veritas said in a statement.
A “historic” victory for Project Veritas
The opinion issued by the Court on Thursday reads, “Here, having failed to convince the Court that [Project Veritas’] case should be dismissed, [The New York Times] also failed to demonstrate the extraordinary justification required for the imposition of the drastic remedy of a stay pending appeal.”
Project Veritas media relations manager Mario Balaban said on Instagram that the first deposition against the New York Times could come “any day.”
“We already have deposition tapes from the New York Times in our possession,” Balaban told the Daily Caller. “This is a victory for justice. Project Veritas is not afraid of depositions. In fact, we look forward to them, because we have nothing to hide.”