Project Veritas went on the offensive Friday in its ongoing legal battle with the American Federation of Teachers with a video showing a top official saying that the union’s lawsuit was intended “to stop Project Veritas from doing the kind of work that it does.”
Project Veritas president James O’Keefe also said that the guerrilla journalism outfit has issued a subpoena to AFT national president Randi Weingarten in connection with the lawsuit filed by AFT Michigan in September 2017 over an undercover sting about a teacher accused of child molestation.
In a video taken during a deposition, AFT Michigan president David Hecker said the lawsuit was intended “in any way possible to stop Project Veritas from doing the kind of work that it does, and as part of that, compensate AFT Michigan for damages.”
At another point in the deposition, Mr. Hecker said, “If the result of it was also in some way slowing down or limiting what Project Veritas does, that would have been a great outcome as well, or will be a great outcome as well.”
Asked about the financial pressure on Project Veritas, Mr. Hecker said, “Of course it’s going to cost Project Veritas money, right? But we didn’t sit down and say, ‘Let’s concoct a lawsuit so we could make them spend a lot of money,’” adding, “I’m no fan of Project Veritas.”
The union, which has accused Project Veritas and investigator Marisa Jorge of fraud, trespass and eavesdropping, in December 2017 won a temporary restraining order against the release of the hidden-camera footage, a ruling that was later overturned by a federal judge.
“This is an Alice in Wonderland moment,” said Ms. Weingarten in an email. “Let’s remember what this is about —James is caught red handed dispatching a mole to secretly film and steal from a workplace and his response is to slice and dice even more deceptive footage. I would call it a lot of things, but one thing it isn’t is journalism.”
In a March press release, the AFT slammed Mr. O’Keefe as a “right wing smear merchant” after a judge denied his request to dismiss the case.
Ms. Weingarten vowed to “do everything in our members’ power to make sure James O’Keefe’s reprehensible organization pays the price for its brazen deception,” while Mr. O’Keefe said Friday that, “I guess the AFT isn’t aware of a little thing called the First Amendment.”
“We don’t quit, we don’t give in, we don’t stop, we don’t settle lawsuits, we don’t compromise, we are 7-0 on litigation, and we are going to win this one,”said Mr. O’Keefe.
In the video investigation posted in May 2018 after the lifting of the restraining order, a Michigan union official was shown in hidden-camera footage relaying how he negotiated a $50,000 payout for a teacher who was fired after being accused of molesting a seven- or eight-year-old girl.
The former teacher, whose name was redacted in the video, denied all wrongdoing and was never charged or arrested.