Libel suit against Project Veritas thrown out

Libel suit against Project Veritas thrown out
© Getty

A federal judge on Wednesday threw out a libel lawsuit against the conservative group Project Veritas and its founder James O'Keefe.

A woman who was assaulted outside a 2016 Trump rally filed the suit over how Project Veritas depicted in a video the events surrounding her assault.

Judge Martin Reidinger, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush, ruled that the video was protected under the First Amendment, according to the Asheville Citizen Times in North Carolina.

ADVERTISEMENT

"While the internet has broadened the number and the variety of available voices in the marketplace of ideas, it has also served to undermine the public’s confidence in the veracity of those sources,” Reidinger said, according to The Washington Post, which cited a court transcript. “That fine line has to be walked. And I think that walking that fine line required this court to take a close look at what issues are really for this court and what issues are really for this jury.”

Reidinger determined that attorneys for Shirley Teter, 71, who filed the suit, did not prove actual malice.

O'Keefe celebrated the court's ruling on Twitter.

Teter's lawyer, Ralph Streza, told The Hill in a statement Wednesday that they were "disappointed" by the decision. 

"It was a difficult loss for Ms. Teter and it was not an easy victory for the defendants," he said. "When we receive the official written decision from the judge, we will consider all options that are available to Ms. Teter."

Project Veritas, which is known for attempting to reveal purported liberal bias, was accused by Teter of setting up a private person for "ridicule, contempt, or disgrace."

Teter was assaulted while protesting outside a Trump rally. After the incident, Project Veritas Action Fund posted the video, which it said showed Democratic activists planning to cause violence at Trump rallies, according to The Associated Press.

Teter's lawyers said in court that Democratic activist Scott Foval discussed plans in the video to place people at events so they could question Trump in front of reporters, according to the AP.

The attorneys argued that the video omitted Foval telling interviewers that the assault on Teter “was not preplanned” and that “we haven’t paid a single person to get beat up at a rally."