1. Democracy Partners v. Project Veritas (D.D.C. 2017) DOWNLOAD DOCKET
In October 2016, Robert Creamer and his organization, Democracy Partners, were Project Veritas’ (PV) targets in its YouTube video series, "Rigging the Election." Over the course of months of correspondence and meetings, prospective donor "Charles Roth" (aka Dan Sandini) asked Creamer if there was any work or internships available for his niece, "Angela Brandt." The alleged niece was really Allison Maass, a PV operative who previously infiltrated Democratic campaigns. During her internship, Maass secretly video recorded her conversations with Creamer and others in the office. In "Rigging the Election," these recordings were edited in a manner that implied Creamer and Democracy Partners were part of a scheme to help the DNC incite violence at Trump events and engage in voter fraud to help Hillary Clinton win the presidency. On June 1, 2017 Democracy Partners filed suit alleging breach of fiduciary duty, violation of federal and state wiretap laws, trespass, fraudulent misrepresentation, and civil conspiracy. Subsequently, O’Keefe and Project Veritas filed a motion to dismiss arguing, among other things, that they were journalists whose conduct was protected under the First Amendment. On September 15, 2017 Democracy Partners filed an opposition to O’Keefe’s motion to dismiss.
In January of 2018, the judge ruled against Project Veritas' motion to dismiss on all counts. This case is now in discovery.
2. Project Veritas, et. al. v. Gemini Insurance Company DOWNLOAD DOCKET
On September 29, 2017 Project Veritas, James O’Keefe, along with a number of Project Veritas employees filed suit against Gemini Insurance Company for “wrongful denial to defend and indemnify” them from four currently pending lawsuits. The four lawsuits at issue include Wentz v. Project Veritas, Democracy Partners v. Project Veritas, Teter v. Project Veritas, and a defamation suit by a former Pearson employee. The complaint alleges that Project Veritas and its associates have incurred $160,000 in legal fees without help from the insurer, despite the fact that its insurance policy provides for $1,000,000 on each claim. Despite having a pre-trial conference scheduled for January 2018, the Plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their claims pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a) on October 10, 2017.
This case is currently in mandated arbitration.
3. Dianne Barrow v. O’Keefe
On October 24, 2017, Dianne Barrow filed suit against James O’Keefe, Project Veritas, and other Project Veritas associates in Los Angeles County Court. Dianne Barrow was employed by publishing company Houghton Mifflin Houghton (HMH) selling curriculum text books to school districts. On or about August 2015, Barrow was contacted by known Project Veritas associate Allison Maass, who misrepresented herself as working for a client running for public office who had a ‘special interest’ in the success of the Common Core and sought more information on the program. Under these false pretenses, Barrow agreed to a meeting with Maass at private location in August 2015. At this meeting, Maass and Christian Hartsock, another Project Veritas undercover operative, surreptitiously recorded Barrow on hidden audio and video devices. The result of the covert audio and video recording was a heavily edited video created by Project Veritas which cherry picked Barrow’s statements about childhood learning and Common Core. Project Veritas published the video on their website, YouTube channel, and other internet sources on January 12, 2016 and Barrow was fired from her job the same day.
In her complaint, Barrow alleges Defendants violated the Racketeer Influenced Corruption Act (RICO), California Business and Professions Code, and various state tort laws. She is seeking general, punitive, and statuary damages, as well as injunctive order compelling Project Veritas to take down the video from all Internet sources.
4. AFT Michigan v. Project Veritas (E.D. Mich. 2017) DOWNLOAD DOCKET
On September 27, 2017 the Michigan affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT Michigan) filed suit against Project Veritas and its undercover operative Marisa Jorge in the U.S. District for the Eastern District of Michigan. The complaint alleges Jorge, at the behest of Project Veritas and O’Keefe, misrepresented her identity, engaged in unlawful surveillance of AFT Michigan staff, leaders and associates, and gathered confidential information from them. In response, Michigan Circuit Court Judge Brian R. Sullivan granted the group’s request for an emergency injunction and issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting Jorge, her agents, and anyone acting in concert with her from releasing private and confidential information gathered from any unlawful surveillance.
U.S. Judge Linda Parker lifted the restraining order and denied AFT a temporary injunction on December 27, 2017. However, the judge also stated that AFT would likely win in court if it pursued a claim for breach of fiduciary duty, per The Washington Post.
3/28/19 Judge Parker ruled against Veritas' motion to dismiss on most counts.
5. Kimberly Koerber Actions DOWNLOAD COMPLAINT
Kimberly Koerber has initiated two separate lawsuits against Project Veritas, both of which stem from a private conversation that was surreptitiously recorded by Project Veritas associates.
Koerber v. Cengage Learning
On February 8, 2017, Koerber filed suit against her previous employer Cengage Learning, Project Veritas, James O’Keefe, and other Project Veritas associates. Koerber was employed as a sales consultant by Cengage Learning, an educational publishing company engaged in the selling educational material to public entities. On November 10, 2015, Koerber received a call inviting her to anonymously provide research that would assist then-Attorney General of California Kamala Harris in formulating policy. On November 11, 2015, Koerber met with two individuals, one female who was later identified as Defendant Allison Maass and one male who was either Defendant Christian Hartsock or Defendant James O’Keefe. Unknown to Koerber, the two individuals surreptitiously recorded their meeting using hidden audio and video recording devices. During the meeting, Koerber was asked a variety of questions and expressed opinions on various political subjects including but not limited to common core curriculum, government contracts for educational materials, the politics of educational materials, and donations from educational publishers to political candidates. The result of the covert audio and video recording was a heavily edited video created by Project Veritas, which was later published to their website and shared by other right-wing websites including Breitbart.
Koerber’s complaint asserted various causes of action, including, inter alia, wrongful termination, intentional infliction of emotional distress, statutory invasion of privacy, common law invasion of privacy, public exposure of private facts, violation of privacy -- use of name of likeness, and negligence.
5/14/19: Koerber has appealed all rulings as to Project Veritas, James O’Keefe, and other Project Veritas associates and settled with Cengage. (per Gary Rand & Suzanne E. Rand-Lewis PLCS)
Koerber v. Project Veritas
On October 25, 2017 Koerber again filed suit against Project Veritas, James O’Keefe and other Project Veritas associates alleging Defendants engaged in wrongful conduct on or about September 2017. The allegedly wrongful conduct occurring in September 2017 stems from Project Veritas’ original sting operation which culminated in a lawsuit filed in February 2017 titled Koerber v. Cengage Learning. Koerber’s complaint alleges that Project Veritas, on the behest of O’Keefe and other co-defendants, posted a video on September 28, 2017 to the Project Veritas website and to other social media accounts which made false and defamatory statements. Koerber alleges Project Veritas purposely released another video about her as a crude form of advertising and used the video to solicit donations to help pay for Defendants legal costs after their professional liability insurance provider withdrew their coverage in August 2017. In the September video, Defendants claimed Koerber was conspiring with other Plaintiffs in separate lawsuits, to silence Defendants’ “hard hitting investigations” and needed the donations to fund the ongoing investigation into Koerber. Koerber alleges Defendants conduct created a renewed interest into Defendants’ past recordings of her, causing her to experience extreme emotional distress.
In Koerber’s complaint she alleges the following causes of action: intentional infliction of emotional distress, unfair business practices, negligence, defamation and intentional interference with prospective economic advantage.
In January of 2018, a Los Angeles court ruled to dismiss Koerber's complaint against Project Veritas.
5/14/19: On May 14, 2019 the Court permitted Koerber's defamation and unfair business practices claims against Project Veritas and O'Keefe to continue. (per Gary Rand & Suzanne E. Rand-Lewis PLCS)
1. Mary Landrieu Criminal Charges DOWNLOAD DOCKET
In January 2010 James O’Keefe and three associates were arrested by federal authorities in the course of posing as telephone workers in an attempt to execute a phone tampering sting in U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu’s New Orleans office. Though the four men were initially facing felony charges, each pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of entering a building under false pretenses. The three associates, Stan Dai, Joseph Basel, and Robert Flanagan were each sentenced to two years of probation, a fine of $1,500 and 75 hours of community service. As the group’s leader, O’Keefe was sentenced to three years of probation, a fine of $1,500 and 100 hours of community service.
2. Vera v. O’Keefe (S.D. Cal. 2012) DOWNLOAD DOCKET
On July 8, 2010 Juan Vera filed suit against James O’Keefe and his employee, Hanna Giles, following a sting by O’Keefe where he and Giles entered a California office of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) under false pretenses. During this encounter, Mr. Vera, and employee of ACORN, was lured into a hypothetical conversation about smuggling young girls into the country to be used as prostitutes. Following the encounter Mr. O’Keefe and Project Veritas posted a heavily edited video on YouTube implying that Vera and ACORN were advising clients on how to smuggle underaged prostitutes. Vera’s complaint alleged that O’Keefe and Giles had violated California’s Invasion of Privacy Act, which requires all-party consent for any recording of a confidential communication. Following the filing of the complaint, O’Keefe made a motion for summary judgment alleging that the conversation was not confidential. On August 9, 2012 that motion was denied. O'Keefe settled with Vera for $100,000. The case closed on May 2, 2013.
3. James O’Keefe v. Nadia Naffe
O’Keefe filed suit against Nadia Naffe, on allegations that Naffe stole O’Keefe’s confidential information without his permission and leaked a copy of a confidential settlement agreement on the internet. In his complaint, O’Keefe stated claims of conversion and intrusion, arguing that Naffe was wrongly in possession of his private, proprietary information. The confidential information at the center of the claim involved a $20,000 settlement agreement between Project Veritas and Isabel Santa following allegations by Santa of sexual harassment during her employment at the organization. On March 19, 2012, O’Keefe filed for a temporary injunction in an effort to prevent Naffe from continuing to leak further information about the settlement. The Court granted O’Keefe’s injunction thereby preventing Naffe from releasing any additional information under threat of a default judgment.
4. Daniel Francisco v. Project Veritas (NY. Sup. Ct. 2014)
On January 27, 2014 Daniel Francisco, a former Project Veritas employee, filed suit against James O’Keefe and Project Veritas in the Supreme Court of New York. Francisco alleged that he had been wrongfully terminated by Project Veritas and that the organization breached its contract with Francisco by failing to fully compensate him for his last week of employment. Furthermore, Francisco alleged O’Keefe tortiously interfered with Francisco’s contract with Project Veritas and that O’Keefe defamed him after he left the organization.
5. Maldonado v. O’Keefe (NY. Sup. Ct. 2016) DOWNLOAD COMPLAINT
In this New York State case, O’Keefe published a video of Agustin Maldonado, a TSA employee, wherein Maldonado was in uniform while driving and drinking a container out of a plastic bag. O’Keefe made statements in the video that implied Maldonado was drinking alcohol and driving on the job. Maldonado filed suit for defamation claiming that O’Keefe edited and condensed a one-hour interaction between the parties into a misleading two-minute video. O’Keefe filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that his comments in the video were constitutionally protected opinions that may not be the subject of private damage actions if the facts supporting the opinions are set forth in the video. The court found that O’Keefe’s comments in the video were indeed opinions because they were based only on what the viewer was seeing and not on any undisclosed evidence. The case was subsequently dismissed.
6. Project Veritas Action Fund v. Conley (D. Mass. 2017) DOWNLOAD DOCKET
In March 2016, Project Veritas filed a preliminary injunction to enjoin Massachusetts District Attorney, Daniel Conley, from enforcing the Massachusetts Wiretap Statute on the grounds that it violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Project Veritas sought to overturn the state's two-party consent law, which requires all parties to the conversation consent before one of them can record the conversation. As such, the two-party consent rule would have exposed Project Veritas to civil and criminal liability because its “undercover journalism” requires its operatives to surreptitiously record conversations. Project Veritas argued that it wanted to embed itself in protests, and other spaces, for undercover investigative journalism, but could not do so based on the two-party consent law. On September 6, 2017, the District Court of Massachusetts dismissed the case for lack of ripeness, meaning the harm Project Veritas claimed was only speculative.
12/10/17: Chief U.S. District Judge Patti Saris struck down the Massachusetts state ban on secret recordings of officials as unconstitutional. (Courthouse News Service)
7. Wentz v. Project Veritas (M.D. Fla. 2017) DOWNLOAD DOCKET
On June 23, 2017 Steve Wentz, president of United Teachers of Wichita, filed suit in the Florida Middle District against Project Veritas, alleging defamation and violations under federal and state wiretap laws. Project Veritas surreptitiously recorded two conversations between Wentz and an PV operative. The first video featured Wentz at a hotel bar during a conference in Orlando, Florida in 2015 discussing a verbal altercation he once had with a troubled student, with operative Allison Maass. The second video, which took place months later, featured Wentz talking to an undercover Project Veritas operative who lured Wentz into a meeting by giving a false name and then purposely engaged Wentz in a hostile conversation with the intention of inciting an aggressive reaction for the hidden camera. After these two incidents, Project Veritas combined the footage from the two incidents and edited the footage in a way that made Wentz appear hostile, violent, and dishonest. The videos were published by Project Veritas and later picked up by Breitbart News.
4/16/19: U.S. District Court Judge G. Kendall Sharp ruled for summary judgment in favor of Project Veritas, finding that Wentz had no reasonable expectation of privacy in a bar setting. (The Hollywood Reporter)
8. Teter v. Project Veritas (W.D.N.C. 2017) DOWNLOAD DOCKET
On September 14, 2017 Shirley Teter filed suit against James O’Keefe and Project Veritas (PV) in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina stating claims of defamation and violation of a North Carolina state statute that prohibits businesses and organizations from engaging in deceptive practices. According to her complaint, Ms. Teter’s allegations arise from an incident where she was assaulted at a protest outside of a campaign rally for then-candidate Donald Trump. Following her assault, PV implicated Ms. Teter in its YouTube video series "Rigging the Election." In these videos it was implied that Ms. Teter was paid by democratic organizations to incite violence at Trump campaign events. It was also implied that Ms. Teter was homeless and a “bird-dogging activist” trained by Democratic operatives. While there have not yet been any court documents filed by O’Keefe or Project Veritas, in a September 7, 2017 letter predating commencement of the suit, O’Keefe’s lawyers state their intention to file sanctions against Ms. Teter’s attorneys calling the claims in the complaint “frivolous.”
5/20/19: This case went to trial before U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger.
5/22/19: Reidinger dismissed this case, apparently due to the plaintiff's failure to present evidence of actual malice. Teter was required to meet that very high standard because she put herself out as a public figure and didn't suffer actual damages.
1. League of Conservation Voters (2017) VIEW LETTER TO ATTORNEY GENERAL
On August 4, 2017 the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), an environmental non-profit organization, wrote to the California Attorney General’s Office requesting a criminal investigation after the organization discovered they had been infiltrated by operatives associated with Project Veritas. In their letter, LCV states the three operatives used fake identities to gain access to the organization and then sought and obtained confidential information about the organization’s operations and strategic goals. The letter also expressed concerns that the operatives may have surreptitiously recorded meetings because two of the operatives were revealed to be known associates of Project Veritas and had worked on projects involving surreptitious recordings. To date, no such footage as yet to be released.
2. McCaskill for Missouri (10/18/18) VIEW LETTER TO ATTORNEY GENERAL
On October, 18, 2018, the U.S. Senate campaign for Claire McCaskill filed a complaint with the Missouri AG's office, led by her opponent Josh Hawley -- now Sen. Josh Hawley -- demanding that he investigate "fraud committed by James O’Keefe and Project Veritas against [her] campaign."
States Sanctioning Project Veritas' Ability to Fundraise Due to Faulty Conviction Disclosures:
In jeopardy: New York
Per The Washington Post.
last updated 5/14/19