Project Veritas Wins Defamation Lawsuit, Judge Says Videos Accurate and Not Deceptively Edited
Project Veritas’ journalism has been vindicated yet again after a federal judge in Florida sided with the organization in a lawsuit in which a Wichita teacher’s union representative claimed they deceptively edited an undercover video to slander him.
“The federal courts once again vindicated Project Veritas and our methods,” said Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe. “Today a federal judge in Florida ruled totally in our favor in a case brought by a man named Steve Wentz.”
Wentz, president of the Wichita Teachers’ Union, a powerful political power in Kansas, was recorded by a Project Veritas journalist claiming he would intimidate troublesome students with threats of violence in his classroom.
“You really think I’m a motherf*cker?” Said Wentz in the undercover video, “Son go for it and I’ll give you the first shot.”
The Project Veritas journalist incredulously asked Wentz whether he has done this to a student.
Wentz nonchalantly replied, “I’ve done this more than once, and I said ‘I guarantee you, I will kick your f*cking ass.”
O’Keefe explained that in June of 2017, Wentz filed a lawsuit against Project Veritas, claiming the video was edited and posted to defame his character.
In a 2017 Wichita Eagle article, Wentz told the newspaper that “It’s a lie, and it is something that needs to be addressed.”
Wentz continued, saying “When you have people like this that take your words and twist them and edit videos and accuse you of onerous things,” then “this type of vitriol needs to be addressed.”
He added, “This is not journalism.”
O’Keefe quoted Wentz and said, “Today the judge in Florida addressed it, throwing Wentz’s case in a garbage can.”
He quoted the judge as saying “Wentz is unable to sufficiently identify a false statement published by defendants that plausibly supports his defamation claims,” adding that “The edits do not improperly and illegally alter the meaning of Wentz’s words.”
O’Keefe went on, quoting from the judge, “Defendants did not commit defamatory acts against Wentz and did not illegally record conversations,” so “the Court will grant summary judgement in favor of Project Veritas and O’Keefe.”
The Project Veritas founder noted that it would have been cheaper to settle out of court than to spend over $400,000 fighting Wentz’s lawsuit, but said it was never an option for the organization.
“We fight, we fight for the First Amendment, and for the truth, because principles matter,” said O’Keefe. “I can assure you right here, right now, we will never surrender our principles, we will never settle out of court, so help me God.”