The New York Times denounced a judge’s decision to temporarily prevent the newspaper from publishing articles based on internal documents from conservative group Project Veritas.
New York State Supreme Court Justice Charles D. Wood on Thursday ruled that the newspaper “must immediately sequester, protect and refrain from disseminating or further publishing the privileged documents of plaintiff Project Veritas in the possession âof the newspaper or its lawyer.
Wood added that The Times and his attorney “will cease further efforts to solicit or acquire the attorney-client privilege documents of plaintiff Project Veritas.”
Dean Baquet, editor of The Times, lambasted the judge’s order, saying in a statement: “This decision is unconstitutional and sets a dangerous precedent. When a court silences journalism, it is betraying its citizens and infringing on their right to know. “
âThe Supreme Court made this clear in the Pentagon Papers case, a landmark ruling against previous restrictions blocking the publication of newsworthy journalism. This principle clearly applies here. We call for an immediate review of this decision, “he added.
Bruce Brown, executive director of the Journalists’ Committee for Freedom of the Press, called the move a “scandalous affront to the First Amendment.”
Today, a New York state court seized a #previous restriction versus @NY Times ordering him to refrain from “continuing to broadcast or publish any ‘privileged material’ of Project Veritas” in its possession, pending a court hearing next week.
Bruce Brown’s full statement: pic.twitter.com/nftXYCs9qJ
– Committee of Journalists for Press Freedom (@rcfp) November 18, 2021
The move comes as Project Veritas filed a motion on Wednesday to prevent the newspaper from publishing more articles based on the group’s internal memos, according to the Washington Post.
An article published earlier this month by The Times cited documents which it said indicated “an interest in using tactics which test the limits of legality and which are outside of traditional reporting techniques.”
The Times article did not say how the newspaper gained access to the documents. An attorney for the newspaper denied to the Post this week that the memos were “improperly obtained.”
The Times is in the midst of a defamation lawsuit filed by Project Veritas over a story the newspaper published last year on a video that included allegations of voter fraud.
Libby Locke, an attorney representing Project Veritas, argued that the contents of internal documents published by The Times are protected by solicitor-client privilege.
“The courts of New York regularly issue orders prohibiting or limiting to a litigant the dissemination of documents protected by solicitor-client privilege, by trade secret law or involving serious interests in matters of privacy,” he said. Locke said in a statement.
âFurther, the show cause order is extremely limited – it does not ask the court to restrict the Times’ ability to write about Veritas. He is simply asking The Times to put into receivership and not to further release the privileged attorney-client documents of Veritas, especially as they relate to the very issues of the trial, âshe added.
James O’Keefe, the founder of Project Veritas, claimed the newspaper was trying to have it “both ways”, although press freedom advocates also lambasted Wood’s decision.
“While the principles of prior restriction do not apply to an order regarding attorney-client documents that The Times already published in our defamation litigation, Mr. Baquet could perhaps explain why his newspaper did not applied these high standards to his DOJ coverage. raids on Project Veritas, âO’Keefe said in a statement. âThe newspaper has to decide whether it is in favor of press freedom for all, or only for itself, because it cannot have it both ways.