Prior restraint still prevails in Veritas New York Times case

A New York state appeals court stayed an order requiring The New York Times to relinquish or destroy copies of legal memos belonging to Project Veritas while also sustaining the ban on publishing the memos. Project Veritas is suing the Times for defamation. The Times was investigating the theft of a diary belonging to President Joe Biden’s daughter and in the course of its investigation obtained legal memos strategies for keeping Project Veritas reporting tactics legal. (The New York Times, December 28, 2022, by Michael M. Grynbaum)

Reaction to the decision by Judge Charles D. Wood’s decision was scathing. Law professor Dan Kennedy, WGBH News, December 29, 2022, observes “that Wood’s ruling provides an incentive for the target of investigative reporting to sue the news organization and then use that suit to shut down any further reporting by claiming attorney-client privilege.”

The Editorial Board of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 2, 2022, wrote about the case, “The Supreme Court rejected the principle of prior restraint as an unconstitutional affront to the First Amendment that undermined the media’s ability to hold the government and powerful institutions accountable.”

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