By Zachary Stieber
Journalism watchdog Project Veritas can depose New York Times employees in what could become a landmark case for defamation, a New York Supreme Court judge ruled this week.
New York Supreme Court Justice Charles Wood on March 20 ruled against the paper’s request to dismiss a lawsuit from Project Veritas over stories that the watchdog says defamed it.
The New York Times later moved to halt all discovery in the action, claiming that moving forward would needlessly burden the paper and the court system and that their appeal raises “novel and important” legal questions that will benefit from review.
But New York Supreme Court Justice Joan Lefkowitz on Thursday ruled against the paper, concluding Project Veritas would be “substantially prejudiced” by a delay in discovery—a delay that could lost up to three years if the stay was granted.
“Here, having first failed to convince the Court that plaintiffs case should be dismissed, defendants also failed to demonstrate the extraordinary justification required for the imposition of the drastic remedy of a stay pending appeal,” Lefkowitz said in a 12-page decision.
“Fresh off the press: The New York Supreme Court has sided with Project Veritas: Project Veritas will be permitted to depose The New York Times,” James O’Keefe, founder of Project Veritas, said in a statement on Telegram.
A spokesperson for the watchdog told The Epoch Times that the timeline for the depositions is not clear yet.
The group is planning to depose Maggie Astor and Tiffany Hsu, among other New York Times employees.
They will have to answer questions regarding articles Wood described as meeting the dictionary definitions of “disinformation” and “deceptive.”
A New York Times spokesperson and a lawyer representing the paper did not respond to requests for comment.