‘This trial is nothing more than an attack on the media by people who are ideologically opposed to what we do…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) Before there was Russian collusion or obstruction of justice, Democratic operatives were working hard at peddling the myth that candidate Donald Trump was a dangerous threat to the safety of everyday Americans.
Now, one alleged “bird-dog,” a term for leftists who were trained to incite violence at rallies during the 2016 campaign, is suing conservative sting group Project Veritas for exposing the sham.
Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe was in Asheville, NC, this week to defend a defamation suit from Shirley Teter, who drew media attention after she was punched in the face following a Trump rally in September 2016.
Teter, then 69 years old and using an oxygen tank, had been heckling attendees as they left the rally. The incident reportedly occurred after she shouted at a South Carolina man that he had better learn to speak Russian.
Although media reports afterward portrayed Teter as a seasoned left-wing activist, it was a month later that Project Veritas posted secretly recorded interviews with members of Americans United for Change, a political action committee linked to the Hillary Clinton campaign, who acknowledged Teter had been on a mission to provoke the rally-goers.
Teter denied the claims, and in September 2017, she filed suit for defamation and deceptive trade practices against Project Veritas.
However, O’Keefe said in a statement Monday that Project Veritas had no intention of backing down.
“We stand by our reporting in the video that is the subject of this defamation lawsuit in Federal Court in Asheville, North Carolina,” he said.
“We accurately reported what a high-level political operative told us on video tape,” he added. “We did not alter the meaning of his statements, and we preserved the video recording in its original state.”
Project Veritas’s defense has questioned several other aspects of Teter’s story, including her claims that she received harassing phone calls and suffered material damages afterward.
Meanwhile, it contends that her decision to speak to media made her a public figure—subject to a higher standard of malice than a private citizen.
Teter’s claim of deceptive trade practices was later dismissed with prejudice in a summary judgment by the federal court.
In order to prove defamation, Teter must show not only that the statements published were false and caused her to incur damages, but also that the reporters knew or should have known they were false before publishing the videos and conducted themselves with a willful disregard for the truth.
“We issued the report because the public has a right to know the issues raised in these videos,” O’Keefe said.
O’Keefe, who has often found himself on the receiving end of such suits, said it was yet another effort by the Left to discredit him and strong-arm him out of fulfilling his journalistic duty.
“This trial is nothing more than an attack on the media by people who are ideologically opposed to what we do,” he said. “Video is real, irrefutable and undeniably clear. This has always been our raison d’etre. Video does not lie.”