A New York judge denied the paper’s motion to dismiss the suit by the right-wing guerilla news outlet over the Times’ portrayal of Project Veritas’ reporting on alleged voter fraud in the congressional district represented by Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. last fall.
Times reporters Maggie Astor and Tiffany Hsu described Project Veritas’ reporting as “deceptive,” “false,” and “with no verifiable evidence.”
“The facts submitted by Veritas could indicate more than standard, garden variety media bias and support a plausible inference of actual malice,” Supreme Court Justice Charles Wood wrote in his ruling last week. “There is a substantial basis in law to proceed to permit the plaintiff to conduct discovery and to then attempt to meet its higher standard of proving liability through clear and convincing evidence of actual malice.”
Wood elaborated, “If a writer interjects an opinion in a news article (and will seek to claim legal protections as opinion) it stands to reason that the writer should have an obligation to alert the reader, including a court that may need to determine whether it is factor opinion, that it is opinion.”
In a video shared by Project Veritas on Tuesday, Trump personally congratulated the group’s founder James O’Keefe in person at Mar-a-Lago.
“I want to congratulate Project Veritas on their big win on the New York Times,” Trump said. “Now the suit will continue and whatever you can do for their legal defense fund, we’re with them all the way. They do incredible work, they find things nobody would even believe possible. So James, congratulations.”
“Thank you, thank you very much,” O’Keefe responded.
Project Veritas Media Relations Manager Mario Balaban told Fox News that O’Keefe was “very pleased” to have met Trump and “even more pleased” when the former president plugged the group’s legal defense fund “so that more lawsuits can be filed in the future against dishonest media outlets.”
“They’re now being forced to tell the truth under oath,” Balaban said.
Joseph A. Wulfsohn is a media reporter for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @JosephWulfsohn.