One of former President Donald Trump’s worst media enemies – the New York Times – received a smack down in court last week when it was temporarily blocked from publishing information gleaned from internal memos from conservative investigative journalism organization Project Veritas, as the Washington Examiner reports.
Just this month, the Times printed portions of highly sensitive discussions that took place between individuals inside Project Veritas and attorneys representing the organization, and the journalistic watchdog group argued in court that those conversations are covered by attorney-client privilege.
Interestingly, the material at issue appeared in Times reporting very soon after the homes of several people affiliated with Project Veritas were raided by the FBI, including the residence of the group’s founder, James O’Keefe.
Arguing the matter before New York state Supreme Court Justice Charles D. Wood, Project Veritas won the day by convincing the judge to halt further publication of information from the memos alleged to be privileged by tying them to defamation litigation in which the two parties are currently enmeshed, as the Examiner notes.
Wood declared on Thursday that the Times “shall immediately sequester, protect, and refrain from further disseminating or publishing any of Plaintiff Project Veritas’ privileged materials in the possession of “either the outlet itself or its legal counsel, according to The Hill.
In addition, Wood ordered the Times and its lawyers to “cease further efforts to solicit or acquire” attorney-client privileged materials belonging to Protect Veritas.
Unsurprisingly, the Times’ executive editor, Dean Baquet, did not hold back in expressing his outrage over the decision, saying, “This ruling is unconstitutional and sets a dangerous precedent. When a court silences journalism, it fails its citizens and undermines their right to know.”
Baquet continued, “The Supreme Court made clear that in the Pentagon Papers case, a landmark ruling against prior restraint blocking the publication of newsworthy journalism. That principle clearly applies here” and indicated that the outlet would request prompt judicial review of the order.
Project Veritas attorney Libby Locke took a different view, however, noting that “New York courts routinely issue orders that prohibit or limit a litigant from disseminating materials that are protected by the attorney-client privilege,” and emphasizing that the Times remains free to write about her client, but just cannot publish privileged information that relates to ongoing litigation between the two parties.