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Project Veritas Faces $120,000 Damages After Hidden Camera Sting

A federal jury awarded $120,000 in damages to Democratic consulting firms targeted by Project Veritas, a conservative group specializing in hidden-camera video stings. This case involved operative who used a false name and story in 2016 to obtain an internship and gained access to a meeting. The ten-person jury concluded that the actions of the former operative, Allison Maass, breached duty to the consulting firms and involved fraudulent misrepresentation, Politico reports. Recordings by Maass and other operatives depicted what the group said were efforts to incite violence at rallies for then-President Trump. A key figure behind the Democratic consultancies, Robert Creamer, said the firms lost organizing contracts after the release of the videos. He adamantly denied encouraging violence during so-called bracketing efforts around Trump events. Project Veritas’ founder, James O’Keefe, refers to Maass as a journalist. Vowing an appeal, he said the jury verdict endangered hidden-camera work. “The jury effectively ruled investigative journalists owe a fiduciary duty to the subjects they are investigating and that investigative journalists may not deceive the subjects they are investigating,” said O’Keefe. A Miami-based attorney who represented Project Veritas, Paul Calli, argued that the group’s activities were part of the American tradition of muckraking. "The fight continues because this case implicates fundamental First Amendment issues,” Calli said Thursday. However, U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman could still impose punitive damages related to a wiretapping violation found by the jury.

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