Project Veritas

LEGAL UPDATE: PETA, & Free Speech Groups file Amicus Briefs Supporting Undercover Journalism in Veritas Lawsuit against State of Oregon

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Key Points

  • In July 2023, Project Veritas won a fundamental First Amendment battle in the state of Oregon when the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Oregon’s ban on recording people in public without their consent

  • In March 2024, the court vacated the order and the case will now be reheard

  • Multiple free speech groups and animal rights group, PETA, have filed friend of the court (amicus briefs) in support of Veritas' suit against the State of Oregon

In Summer 2023, Project Veritas WON a major free speech battle in its suit against Oregon when the Ninth Circuit ruled to overturn the state's ban on secret recordings. The court concluded the law was unconstitutional: a violation of the First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

For a brief time, citizens and journalists in Oregon enjoyed the full protections of the First Amendment and the ability to use undercover journalism to catch corruption in their state.

In March 2024, the court vacated the order and the case will be reheard. Project Veritas will now go back to court to continue to fight the criminalization of journalism.

This week, multiple groups submitted amicus briefs in support of Project Veritas' legal efforts to challenge Oregon’s unconstitutional ban on secret recordings.

Now signing on in support of the federal court ruling that struck down the unconstitutional ban is a diverse group of organizations including PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), Animal Outlook, and the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression.

Through lawyers at Animal Activist Legal Defense Project, these groups submitted an amicus brief arguing that "Oregon’s sweeping prohibition on non-consensual audio and videorecordings of conversations conflicts with these basic First Amendment principles by presumptively outlawing an important medium of newsgathering and speech creation...this law is in direct conflict with the First Amendment."

Nonprofit litigation firm, Liberty Justice Center, as well as Oregonian lawyer Bert Krages, also filed amicus briefs to the court.

In Project Veritas' original suit filed in 2020, Project Veritas lawyer Ben Barr argued that Oregon's broad prohibition on surreptitious audio recordings in fact criminalizes the very act of journalism. He stated, "Oregon law currently makes it a criminal act to record a protest, or an interview, or nearly any other interaction without clear and conspicuous notice to anyone whose voice might be recorded.”

FIRE attorney, Gabe Walters filed an amicus brief stating "recordings can be essential for newsgathering on issues that matter most to the public... wrongdoers have a funny habit of straightening up when they know they’re being recorded." He said, "FIRE isproud to fight alongside a broad coalition of advocates to protect this important right to expose what’s wrong.

Stay tuned for updates as Project Veritas continues this important legal fight in the state of Oregon.

Amicus Briefs:

PETA, FIRE, Animal Outlook

Liberty Justice Center

Bert Krages

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About Project Veritas

Project Veritas is a non-profit investigative news organization conducting undercover reporting. Project Veritas investigates and exposes corruption, dishonesty, self-dealing, waste, fraud, and other misconduct in both public and private institutions to achieve a more ethical and transparent society. Project Veritas is a registered 501(c)(3) organization.