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Court (For Now) Says NY Times Can Publish Project Veritas Documents

from the prior-restraint? dept

We’ve talked about the hypocrite grifters who run Project Veritas, who, even when they have legitimate concerns about attacks on their own free speech, ran to court to try to silence the NY Times. Bizarrely, a NY judge granted Project Veritas’ demand for prior restraint against the NY Times falsely claiming that attorney-client material could not be published.

The NY Times appealed that ruling and now a court has… not overturned the original ruling, but for now said that the NY Times can publish the documents, saying that it will not enforce the original ruling until an appeal can be heard. This is… better than nothing, but fully overturning the original ridiculous ruling would have been much better. Because it was clearly prior restraint. But, at least for now, the prior restraint will not be enforced.

Still, the response from Project Veritas deserves separate comment, because it’s just naively stupid:

In a phone interview on Thursday, Mr. O?Keefe said: ?Defamation is not a First Amendment-protected right; publishing the other litigants? attorney-client privileged documents is not a protected First Amendment right.?

While it’s accurate that defamation is not protected by the 1st Amendment, he’s wrong that publishing attorney-client communications is — in most cases — very much protected. He’s fuzzing the lines here, by basically arguing that because Project Veritas is, separately, suing the NY Times, that bans the NY Times from publishing any attorney-client privileged material it obtains via standard reporting tactics.

But that fuzzing suggests something that just isn’t true: that there’s some exception to the 1st Amendment from publishing attorney-client materials. That’s wrong. The attorney-client privilege is with respect to having to disclose certain documents to another party in litigation. If you can successfully show that the documents are privileged, they don’t need to be disclosed to the other party. That’s the extent of the privilege. It has no bearing whatsoever on whether or not someone else obtaining those materials through other means has a right to publish them. Of course they do and the 1st Amendment protects that.

And, I should just note, that considering Project Veritas’ main method of operating is trying to obtain private documents, or record secret conversations, it is bizarre beyond belief that Project Veritas is literally claiming that private material has some sort of 1st Amendment protection. Because that seems incredibly likely to come back and bite Project Veritas at a later time. Of course, considering they’re hypocritical grifters with no fundamental principles beyond “attack people with views we don’t like,” I guess it’s not surprising that their viewpoint on free speech and the 1st Amendment shifts depending on who it’s protecting.

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Companies: ny times, project veritas

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Comments on “Court (For Now) Says NY Times Can Publish Project Veritas Documents”

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43 Comments
This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

considering Project Veritas’ main method of operating is trying to obtain private documents, or record secret conversations, it is bizarre beyond belief that Project Veritas is literally claiming that private material has some sort of 1st Amendment protection

They believe in the conservative idea of “free speech”, which is “free speech for me but not for thee”. They’re not capable of shame or guilt or remorse; pointing out their hypocrisy will only embolden them.

They are sociopaths, and they don’t care who they hurt in their quest for fame and glory (and the shitloads of money to be made by grifting gullible right-wingers).

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

"They believe in the conservative idea of “free speech”, which is “free speech for me but not for thee”. They’re not capable of shame or guilt or remorse; pointing out their hypocrisy will only embolden them."

That’s the progressive idea of free speech.

Seems to be the Techdirt idea of free speech as well.

"If it’s not the government doing it, it’s not censorship!"

Anonymous Coward says:

a court has… not overturned the original ruling, but for now said that the NY Times can publish the documents, saying that it will not enforce the original ruling until an appeal can be heard.

So um, am I an idiot for wondering what happens when the NY Times publishes the documents and a court rules in favor of the original ruling?

What would be the recourse then? Because if that’s what happens, it’d be like trying to unfuck a pregnant woman.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I think Mike misread the meaning of the judicial order. On the surface it looks like a go-ahead, but if you stop and think about it for a second, it’s a back-handed way of enforcing the injunction without violating the law.

"We’re not going to enforce this injunction until after an Appellate ruling, but if the ruling is valid and you published the material, you’re going to have to answer as to why you violated the injunction"

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Chozen says:

Re: Re: Re:

Yeah I had look hard to find the exact order.

Mike showing his bias citing the NYT in a case pertaining to the NYT. There were otehr sources with their own reporting like The Hill but Mike intentionally went with the most biased and one sided source possible. You will also notice that this time around while mike uploaded the actual ruling for US to read on the lower courts order Mike did no such thing here. He intentionally keeps the actual ruling hidden from his audience and instead posts only the NYT, who are a party to the case spin on it.

Just when I think Mike cant go any lower the find a way to dig down.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Step 1: Get sued by Project Veritas

Step 2: Have the FBI raid their offices so you can get all of their attorney-client documents outside of normal discovery

Step 3: FBI hands over the documents to the New York Times

Step 4: The New York Times claims innocence even though they colluded with the FBI to get those documents

Step 5: Techdirt shrugs at the illegal actions

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Chozen says:

Re: Re: That is not the standard of proof

As said before the standard of proof to obtain a protective order is not "proof beyond a reasonable doubt." Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is the highest standard of proof in our judicial system and only comes into play in criminal cases.

The standard of proof in obtaining a protective order is reasonable belief. Its actually the complete inverse of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The reasonable belief standard of proof is more than satisficed by the NYT’s own reporting of information that they admit came from sources in the DOJ.

Chozen says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

People more important than you thats for sure. The Mike’s of the tech world need to go. The GoFundMe faisco was the last straw. These professional wonks like Mike advised GoFundMe that it was perfectly legal for them to redirect donations. This is one of the major problems in Big Tech very few of the "experts" are actually experts. They just got their foot in the door first. Mike isn’t qualified to be talking about what should or should not be in ToS. It isn’t 1997 anymore ToS are now legal contracts. Mike isn’t a contract lawyer or a lawyer of any kind.

I’m really interested in seeing who advised GoFundMe that they had any legal right based on their ToS to redirect the money they were to hold in trust. Thats a crime. The ToS are moot. ToS cant void law. The problem is that non-experts in the tech world like Mike actually believe they do.

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Anonymous Coward says:

And, I should just note, that considering Project Veritas’ main method of operating is trying to obtain private documents, or record secret conversations, it is bizarre beyond belief that Project Veritas is literally claiming that private material has some sort of 1st Amendment protection.

So your contention is Project Veritas is colluding with the federal government to raid offices of those they are investigating?

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

So your contention is Project Veritas is colluding with the federal government to raid offices of those they are investigating?

Who is colluding with who?

And for the last how many years have we heard that there is no such law against "collusion"?

And do you have anything that would resemble credible proof that there was any collusion to begin with?

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

Can't see how this could backfire on them at all...

‘Attorney-client and other similarly private documents are protected and deserve to be treated as such! Now if you’ll excuse us we’re going to go back to trying to scam and/or trick people into giving us private documents and other information that we can publish to the world.’

If a complete and utter inability to experience shame weren’t a requirement to be a modern day ‘conservative’ I’d imagine each and every one of them would have choked to death from the hypocrisy of their argument here. How dare someone print the private communications of others, that’s their business model!

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Can't see how this could backfire on them at all...

"’Attorney-client and other similarly private documents are protected and deserve to be treated as such! Now if you’ll excuse us we’re going to go back to trying to scam and/or trick people into giving us private documents and other information that we can publish to the world.’"

So now you’re against Wikileaks and Edward Snowden?

They do/did the same thing as Veritas.

Are you against the guys behind the Pentagon Papers? They did the same thing.

Are you against actual investigative journalism? Because that’s what actual journalists do.

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Anonymous Coward says:

"ran to court to try to silence the NY Times."

The NY Times is in a lawsuit against Project Veritas and then publishes attorney-client information, you stupid hack.

This is called "Conflict of Interest".

If the NY Times had any ethics at all, they wouldn’t have published it and would have attacked the FBI for what they did.

GamerGate was right in 2014. Journalism needs a strong code of ethics.

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Chozen says:

"The issue is not the rules for a protective order, but rather the rules for prior restraint, which are controlled by the 1st Amendment. You don’t get to avoid the 1st Amendment here."

The first Amendment isn’t more important than the 6th Amendment. No right is more important than any other. Everyone has a right to counsel and within that right is the right to confidentiality. You cant have true counsel if you are afraid to speak freely with your counsel.

In cases like this the court has to weigh public interest and non-aggression. Who is the aggressing party here? Which party aggressed on the rights of the other? The NYT. Under our basic principle of non-aggression the NYT loses because they are the aggressor on the others rights.

Then there is the question of public interest. As in the original motion the NYT couldn’t find a single case where a protective order against a news outlet filed by a private party against a new organization that had privileged attorney client communication was not granted. The NYT could only point to cases where the party petitioning for the order was the government or a quasi-government actor like a government contractor.

The 11th circuit was quite clear in the Noriega case. When CNN wanted to publish Noriega’s attorney client communications. That was affirmed by the SCOTUS when it denied CNN’s motion for a stay. If CNN is not allowed to publish Noriega’s, who had been President of Panama, attorney client communications than NYT is isn’t allowed to O’Keefe’s.

"I think that with the coming criminal investigations of GoFundMe and all the "expert advisors" who are now facing criminal investigation for conspiracy to commit fraud, yourself and those like you AKA Generation X talking heads who got their foot in the tech door early really need to take a step back and think.

Lol, wut?

Its going to catch up to all the "Mike Masniks" who advised GoFundMe that it was perfectly legal "under their ToS" to keep the money.

Whatever drugs you’ve been taking, you should stop."

I don’t think you understand how insightful your comments are to the state of Big Tech. There are a lot of generation X that and older millennials that work in Big Tech like yourself as consultants who are unqualified and clueless. You just got there early when it was the wildwild west.

Yeah you got ToS to be considered legal contracts but you aren’t a lawyer. So you really aren’t qualified anymore to be giving professional about how a ToS should be written. I’m not saying it was you definitively that advised GoFundMe to commit a crime. But I have my suspicion. You haven’t committed on the issue and its a very Mike Masnick kind of argument that came from GoFundMe.

Mike you are the type of person who would argue that a ToS can authorize a Big Tech company like GoFundMe to commit wire fraud. That is of course not true. Anyone who has had a first year law class can tell you that no contract can violate public policy but you haven’t had a first year law class yet you advise on legal matters. "Well I’ve been doing this since the 90s." Yeah when ToS weren’t legal contracts. The moment they became legal contracts you and those like you were no longer qualified.

Google just lost a major case in Arizona over incognito mode violating wire tapping law. Texas just opened an investigation of Meta for violation of their privacy statutes. This is happening all over the country and its guys like you that are the cause.

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