The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has, once again, filed a document supporting Project Veritas demanding that secret warrants, which served as the basis for James O’Keefe and Project Veritas journalists to be spied on and raided, be unsealed.
The US Attorneys for the government last filing in June attempted to avoid releasing the contents of the affidavits showing the probable cause for the warrants. They claim that even though the government's investigation had been widely reported on, the government hasn't confirmed any details about the investigation.
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has now responded to that - pointing out that the widespread reporting by the press appears to be because the government, specifically the Department of Justice US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, is talking to the press, possibly anonymously.
Just a month after the raids, Magistrate Judge, Sarah Cave, who signed the warrants against Project Veritas, denied the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press’ request to unseal – thus, keeping the affidavits secret. Now the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press appealed the denial to Federal District Court Judge, Analisa Torres, who will likely issue a decision in the coming weeks.
[NEW YORK – JULY 13, 2022] The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (“RCFP”) has, once again, filed in support of Project Veritas demanding transparency from the Department of Justice.
Almost a year and a half removed from the November of 2021 FBI raids at the homes of Project Veritas journalists, which prompted mass outrage from groups like the ACLU, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Freedom of the Press Foundation, and the RCFP, the government continues to opt for secrecy.
Just a month after the raids, Magistrate Judge, Sarah Cave, who signed the warrants against Project Veritas, denied the RCFP request to unseal the affidavits.
Then, on May 13, 2022 the ACLU felt compelled to join the fight and wrote a letter to Federal District Court Judge Analisa Torres. In that letter, the ALCU wrote, “Even if Judge Cave's order were correct when it was issued, the light subsequently shed on the government's investigation may have diminished the need for continued secrecy with respect to substantial portions of the search warrant materials, making redaction more feasible than it might have appeared previously.”
Now, the RCFP has appealed the denial to Federal District Court Judge, Analisa Torres
The government, once again, argued against both the RCFP’s and the ACLU’s request to unseal the affidavits that led to the FBI raids.
In a new video, Project Veritas founder and CEO, James O’Keefe, dissects the government’s argument that, “Despite the numerous briefs filed in this matter, neither the RCFP nor the ACLU have been able to identify any instance in which a federal court granted the extraordinary relief they seek.”
O’Keefe notes, “Well, that's because it never f**king happened before. Of course, there's no instance. You've never raided the New York times. You've never raided CNN. Because that's not allowed under United States law. You broke the law so egregiously, and then you say, ‘there's never been an instance where we've done this before.’ That's tautological.”
Additionally, the in their new filling, RCFP rejected the argument that an “ongoing investigation” is enough to justify keeping the government's misdeeds hidden from the public.
“When the government resists disclosure of search warrant materials, courts have generally required it to submit evidence and argument specifically addressing the factual circumstances at hand,” RCFP argued.
The government’s position is, “The requirement that a court makes specific findings supporting sealing does not mean that the findings must be unique to that particular case.”
The government also argued, “There's a vast gulf between a news outlet reporting a particular fact and the government disclosing that fact.” The RCFP argued in response, “Much of the reporting on the government's investigation appears to be based in part on disclosures made by the government itself to members of the news media, See, Adam Goldman and Michael S.
Schmidt, How Ashley Biden’s Diary Made Its Way to Project Veritas, N.Y. Times (December
16, 2021), https://nyti.ms/3rZSetJ (stating that the Times’s reporting was based on ‘[e]xtensive
interviews with people involved in or briefed on the investigation’ as well as “a review of court
filings, police records, and other material...’”).
At the end of Project Veritas’ legal update video, O’Keefe closes with this:
Does it not matter that unsealing the affidavit is likely to prove the government violated the law in raiding me and my journalists and would prove Project Veritas’ innocence? What are they hiding? Why are they afraid of this affidavit being unsealed? And just who are they protecting? Now, federal judge Torres must decide if the government can simultaneously disclose only their favorite details of their ‘super-secret investigation’ to the New York Times, while simultaneously shielding their unconstitutional actions from the public's view. For federal judge Torres to rule against Project Veritas, and to rule against the press itself, as well as the ACLU and the Reporters Committee would be the greatest authoritarian power grab by the government in United States history.
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.