NYT Attorneys Claim Words Don't Have "Meaning" In Attempt to Avoid Discovery in PV Defamation Case
Project Veritas has revealed notable filings in their ongoing defamation suit with the New York Times which should raise some eyebrows including the argument that neither the words “deceptive” nor “verifiable” have a “precise meaning that is readily understood.”
In the aftermath of a September 2020 Project Veritas report which showed footage of illegal ballot harvesting in Minnesota, the New York Times wrote five articles saying the report was “deceptive” and not “verifiable.” Because you can see countless ballots on video and subjects of the investigation are heard expressing indifference to violating laws with respect to ballot harvesting, Project Veritas asked the New York Times to correct the articles, but the Times refused.. This resulted in a lawsuit which successfully survived a motion to dismiss causing the NYT to appeal.
There have been notable moments throughout the suit such as lawyers for the Times citing Wikipedia, the NYT publishing confidential legal memos prepared by Project Veritas’ attorneys of record in the suit , and New York Supreme Court Justice Charles Woods writing: “The Articles that are the subject of this action called the Video ‘deceptive,’ but the dictionary definitions of ‘disinformation’ and ‘deceptive’ provided by defendants’ counsel … certainly apply to [the New York Times’] failure to note that they interjected their opinion in news articles as they now claim.”
The Times continues to argue the news pieces were merely non-actionable opinion, claiming that “[n]either the word ‘deceptive’ nor the word ‘verifiable’ has a precise meaning that is readily understood.” The Times also pushed back on Justice Wood’s contention that reporting news in the news section (as opposed to opinion) is a “novel obligation” which the “lower court offered no support for.”
In a response, Project Veritas’ Attorney Libby Locke explains that the New York Times themselves created this so-called “novel obligation:”
The substance and context of the statements – in particular the fact that they appeared in Times news stories where The Times’ own policies prohibit reporters from injecting their opinion – could allow a reasonable reader to conclude that the statements were conveying facts about Veritas.
In a video reviewing the merits of the lawsuit, Project Veritas Founder and CEO James O’Keefe closed with a line from Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch criticism of the notable media defamation case, New York Times v. Sullivan:
the published falsehoods are on a scale so great, “it has come to leave far more [Americans defamed] without redress than anyone could have predicted.”
Stay tuned as we wait for the Appellate Division to decide the future of this case.