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Project Veritas to sue New York Times over ballot harvesting story

Project Veritas sues the New York Times for defamation in case involving ballot harvesting, Rep. Ilhan Omar

Updated: October 31, 2020 - 2:20pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

James O’Keefe, the founder and CEO of Project Veritas, announced Friday his organization intends to sue The New York Times and two of its reporters, Maggie Astor and Tiffany Hsu, for defamation. The announcement came after negotiations for an apology and a retraction failed. 

The lawsuit is based on a story that Project Veritas broke regarding the practice of paying cash for ballots, tied to Minnesota Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar. As they often do, Project Veritas used undercover video and published footage of two people who state that it was Omar who “came up with” the scheme to purchase ballots.  

Details are laid out in this press release, which also includes a link to the actual complaint. The Times is being sued for defamation for calling the videos “deceptive,” “coordinated disinformation,” using solely “unidentified sources,” and for having “no verifiable evidence.”

The Times claims that the term “deceptive” is an opinion, and thus not defamatory. But Project Veritas points out that it was in the news, not opinion section of the paper, and that the Times violated its own standards by not contacting Project Veritas for a comment before publishing the story.  

The parties appeared close to resolving the matter to avoid a lawsuit. O’Keefe said Project Veritas worked in good faith to achieve that outcome, but in the end, negotiations failed.