Project Veritas’ founder, James O’Keefe, refers to Maass and others who conduct the stings as journalists. Vowing an appeal, he said the jury verdict endangered hidden-camera work by a wide range of journalists.
“The jury effectively ruled investigative journalists owe a fiduciary duty to the subjects they are investigating and that investigative journalists may not deceive the subjects they are investigating,” said O’Keefe, who was named as a defendant in the suit and sat at the defense table during the trial. “Journalism is on trial, and Project Veritas will continue to fight for every journalist’s right to news gather, investigate, and expose wrongdoing — regardless of how powerful the investigated party may be. Project Veritas will not be intimidated.”
A Miami-based attorney who represented Project Veritas, Paul Calli, argued during the trial that the group’s activities were part of “the finest American tradition called muckraking.”
“The race is long. The fight continues because this case implicates fundamental First Amendment issues,” Calli said Thursday. “The folks on my left prefer to ignore that fact and will spike the ball and celebrate on Twitter because in this case the journalist isn’t someone they ‘like’ or agree with and instead exposed the soft white underbelly of their party. We will see what the finish line brings.”
U.S. District Court Judge Paul Friedman, who oversaw the weeklong trial, could still impose punitive damages related to a wiretapping violation found by the jury. However, the jury ruled for Project Veritas on one claim that Maass illegally recorded a meeting she wasn’t party to.
Friedman is also still considering motions that Project Veritas and the other defendants made during the trial that the Democratic firms and Creamer failed to prove any legal violation by the group.