A ruling on Thursday by a New York Supreme Court Justice upheld a prior ruling preventing The New York Times from releasing documents between journalism group Project Veritas and its lawyer. The decision also said the newspaper must give up the confidential legal memos it had obtained.
State Supreme Court Justice Charles D. Wood of Westchester County wrote the decision, which was released on Thursday.
His ruling came in the defamation lawsuit filed by Project Veritas against the New York Times last year, and he upheld his earlier order stopping the Times from publishing memos. He also ordered the newspaper to turn over physical copies of their documents and destroy electronic versions of them.
Several months after the lawsuit was filed, the Times reported that the U.S. Justice Department had been investigating Project Veritas for the theft of a diary belonging to President Joe Biden’s daughter, Ashley.
In the original story, the newspaper quoted memos, which led Project Veritas to accuse the paper of being in violation of attorney-client privilege. After Wood’s original ruling, the Times said it would appeal the ruling as well as seek a stay in the meantime.
The publisher, A.G. Sulzberger, said the ruling was an attack on press freedom, which should raise an alarm for “anyone concerned about the dangers of government overreach into what the public can and cannot know.”
He added, “In defiance of law settled in the Pentagon Papers case, this judge has barred The Times from publishing information about a prominent and influential organization that was obtained legally in the ordinary course of reporting.”
Project Veritas, though, celebrated the ruling as “a victory for the First Amendment for all journalists and affirms the sanctity of the attorney-client relationship.”
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