James O’Keefe: “This article is full of lies, missing facts and non-facts-facts that makes a mockery of their so-called fact-checking exercise.”
O’Keefe: “The bottom line is this: If USA Today does not fix this piece of garbage fact-check, we will sue them and we will win.”
Facebook cites USA Today fact-check to justify “False Information” label.
Project Veritas Attorney: “Our reading of New York State law is that the USA Today article constitutes an unfair trade practice, which would entitle us to damages, in addition to legal fees.”
[WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y.—Oct. 16, 2020] USA Today posted a so-called fact-check article today based on the Project Veritas investigation into ballot-harvesting and cash-for-ballots in Minneapolis.
“This USA Today fact-check is something out of 1984—not the year, but the book,” said James O’Keefe, the founder and CEO of Project Veritas.
“If USA Today does not correct their article—we will sue them,” he said.
Jered Ede, the chief legal officer for Project Veritas, said a lawsuit over the article “Fact check: No proof of alleged voter fraud scheme or connection to Rep. Ilhan Omar” would not only involve defamation.
“Our reading of New York State law is that the USA Today article constitutes an unfair trade practice, which would entitle us to damages, in addition to legal fees,” Ede said.
“It would be one thing if this was just USA Today taking a cheap shot at a rival journalism outlet, but we learned that as soon as the so-called fact-check was posted, Facebook used it as justification to label our posts about the Minneapolis investigation as fake news,” O’Keefe said.
“Now, we get this from Facebook: ‘Independent fact-checkers at USA Today say information in your post is partly false. To stop the spread of false news, we’ve added a notice to your posts,’” he said.
“This article is full of lies, missing facts and non-facts-facts that makes a mockery of their so-called fact-checking exercise,” he said.
O’Keefe said the reporter, Camille Caldera, made her first major mistake in the second paragraph, when she wrote that the 17-minute video relies on unnamed sources.
“This is not a fact,” O’Keefe said.
“Our central sources are named. You hear their voices. You see their lips move,” he said.
“Remember, this is the same USA Today, that printed a story Sept. 4 that quoted at least five unnamed sources to back up the charge that President Donald Trump called fallen American soldiers suckers and losers,” he said.
“You would think for a story like that you would need someone on the record, but the unnamed sources USA Today relies on did not even talk to USA Today,” he said.
KingLiban1 Snapchat videos
The most damning videos presented by Project Veritas in the report were produced by Liban Mohamed, also known as, Liban Osman, who posted his own videos on his personal Snapchat profile under the username: KingLiban1.
In these videos, Liban said that he had 300 ballots in his car and that his car was full of ballots. In one of the videos, Liban shows a handful of ballots and said: “Two in the morning, still hustling.”
Ede said this is a problem for Liban because Minnesota law limits individuals to handling three ballots.
This is how Caldera handles these self-incriminating videos.
“Other footage, like Mohamed's Snapchats, may have been taken out of context. For example, those clips — some of which appear to depict him handling absentee ballots — do not include a date stamp, meaning they may have been taken within the weeks this
summer that it was legal to collect an unlimited number of absentee ballots in Minnesota.”
One of the videos is clearly date-stamped July 2 and all the Liban videos presented were in the possession of Project Veritas by July 9, Ede said.
“Caldera also misrepresents the legal context of the ballot harvesting by repeating the urban myth that somehow there were no limits on the number of ballots one could handle in Minnesota,” he said.
Here is what Caldera wrote:
“On July 28, a district court struck down Minnesota's three-ballot limit. Another court reinstated the state's limit on Sept. 4. If the activities Mohamed shared on Snapchat occurred between the rulings, they may have been legal. Voters could cast their ballots in the primary anytime between June 26 and Aug. 11, per the Minnesota Secretary of State. It all depends when the Snapchats were filmed, which is impossible to verify based on the videos. Project Veritas claims, without proof, that they were on July 1 and July 2. The only timestamps on the Mohamed videos show that they were made 23 and 21 hours before they were screen-recorded from Snapchat; they do not indicate on which date they were made.”
USA Today and Caldera do not understand what the Minnesota courts ruled, Ede said.
“The district court suspended enforcement of the three-ballot limit, pending a court challenge, which meant the ballot harvesters proceeded at their own risk. When Minnesota high court affirmed the three-ballot limit Sept. 4, it meant that crimes then were crimes now,” he said.
O’Keefe said, “USA Today missed the point completely. Project Veritas did not say he broke the law, he said he broke the law.”
Somali-American insider Omar Jamal
USA Today also went Somali-American community insider Omar Jamal, one of the central sources of the investigation.
O’Keefe said, “Jamal is the chairman of the Somali Watchdog Group, but USA Today wrote that there was ‘skepticism’ about him—why? how?”
USA Today wrote there was some question whether the Somali Watchdog Group really existed because the group’s web domain was registered in August, he said.
“Isn’t that proof it exists? Their whole exercise is fraudulent,” he said.
“By all accounts, Jamal is a productive and respected member of his community, so why did USA Today bring up his immigration troubles from 20 years ago?” he asked. “How could a 20-year-old incident have any bearing on what is going on right now?”
Caldera also took issue with the Somali-to-English translations used in the investigation.
Ede said, “I told her that our translations were conducted by court-certified translators, which she included in the story, but she also repeatedly wrote that our translations were uncorroborated—how is that on us? USA Today cannot point to any flaw in our translations, so how is it proof of false information —when they chose not to do their own translation?”
USA Today relies on flawed Stanford University and The New York Times accounts
“In this corrupt media environment, typified by USA Today, you have researchers at Stanford University, who imagined that the release of our ballot harvesting investigation was coordinated with The Trump Campaign in order to compete with The New York Times unsourced story about the president’s taxes,” O’Keefe said.
“Then, The New York Times wrote an article about that study based on the imaginations of Stanford researchers and now, USA Today cites both accounts for their so-called ‘fact-check,’” he said.
“Why didn’t USA Today mention that Project Veritas is on the verge of suing The New York Times for that article? Wouldn’t a fact-checker article have an obligation to disclose what facts are in dispute?” he asked.
“Then to top it off, Facebook takes this corruptly laundered hit-piece and uses it to censor our content on their platform,” he said.
“The bottom line is this: If USA Today does not fix this piece of garbage fact-check, we will sue them and we will win.”
About Project Veritas
James O'Keefe established Project Veritas in 2011 as a non-profit journalism enterprise to continue his undercover reporting work. Today, 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. O'Keefe serves as the CEO and Chairman of the Board so that he can continue to lead and teach his fellow journalists, as well as protect and nurture the Project Veritas culture.
Project Veritas is a registered 501(c)3 organization. Project Veritas does not advocate specific resolutions to the issues raised through its investigations, nor encourage others to do so. Support our work today.