Right Wing Stunt Group Project Veritas Loses Big in Court

The increasingly embarrassing remnants of the James O’Keefe group were ordered to pay $120K to some libs they pestered

A federal civil court jury found last week that Project Veritas, the hard-right media stunt group, violated wiretapping laws and committed fraud in pursuing sting operations against Democratic political consultants.

As Politico reports, this particular suit found that a former Project Veritas operative had breached a fiduciary duty and committed fraud in applying for an internship under a false name and cover story to obtain the Democratic version of the gotcha soundbites today’s GOP usually just offers on Fox News.

The $120,000 that the jury awarded to the plaintiff, Democracy Partners, is more symbolic than fiscally punitive, sending a message that the practices of Project Veritas and its founder, James O’Keefe, stray from news gathering into amateur espionage and professional disinformation.

“Hopefully, the decision today will help to discourage Mr. O’Keefe and others from conducting these kind of political spy operations and publishing selectively edited, misleading videos in the future,” Robert Creamer, a co-founder of Democracy Partners, said in a statement after the verdict.

During the trial, attorneys recounted Project Veritas’s plot to undermine Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign by infiltrating Democracy Partners. One operative posed as a wealthy donor promising co-founder Creamer a $20,000 campaign contribution to his group, then—after money was wired from an offshore account—proposing that someone he claimed was his niece be accepted for an unpaid internship with the firm.

Using a fake name, email address, and resume, this supposed niece, an operative named Allison Maas, surreptitiously recorded conversations and took documents from the offices and submitted them to be edited and made public.

One early recording purported to show Creamer and another man, Scott Foval, planning to provoke violence at Donald Trump’s rallies, using video that the lawsuit said was “heavily edited and contained commentary by O’Keefe that drew false conclusions.” In another case in the suit, the wealthy donor, under the alias Charles Roth, urged what Creamer describes as an “illegal voter registration scheme,” which Creamer rejected as such.

An attorney for Democracy Partners, Joseph E. Sandler, described the operation and its results as “a painstaking web of lies.” He also introduced as evidence an internal email, marked “highly confidential,” in which O’Keefe offered his staff cash bonuses for any incriminating statements they could provide and a $2,500 bonus if their video was mentioned by Donald Trump in that October’s presidential debate.

No stranger to lawsuits, Project Veritas has incurred legal beefs even from within its own ranks, with two employees filing two separate lawsuits in August—one a class-action suit alleging underpayment and illegal business practices, another accusing leaders of fostering a “sexually hostile work environment,” after an employee claimed to have been fired after she was sexually assaulted by a director. The suit was filed the same month that two Florida residents pled guilty to stealing first daughter Ashley Biden’s diary and selling it to Project Veritas.

Although Project Veritas did not publish the diary and was not charged in the case, officials said that the two diary thieves are cooperating with law enforcement in an ongoing investigation. An investigation in which FBI agents searched the homes of three Project Veritas employees including O’Keefe. The agents did not pose as plumbers, cable guys, or GOP donors, but came as what they were, FBI agents with warrants.

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