Democratic operatives caught in a Project Veritas sting operation filed a $1 million lawsuit Thursday alleging that the undercover investigators violated federal wiretap law with their explosive hidden-camera probe.
Democratic strategist Robert Creamer and Democracy Partners accused Project Veritas of civil conspiracy, trespass, unlawful interception of oral communication, breach of fiduciary duty, and misrepresentation stemming from the work of an investigator hired as an intern under an assumed name.
The plaintiffs said they lost clients and suffered reputational damage after Project Veritas released four videos in the weeks before the Nov. 7 election showing operatives discussing voter fraud and hiring agitators to provoke supporters of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Mr. Creamer resigned shortly after the videos were released, while another strategist, Scott Foval of Americans United for Change, was fired.
Project Veritas President James O’Keefe, who was named in the lawsuit, dismissed the legal action as an “intimidation tactic on behalf of the left to silence undercover journalism and ultimately the truth.”
“I will not be silenced — only over my dead body!” Mr. O’Keefe said in a statement.
Also named in the lawsuit was Daniel Sandini, who was accused of posing as a potential donor to Americans United for Change and as the uncle of Allison Maass, who filmed the undercover footage at Democracy Partners in Washington, D.C.
Project Veritas attorney Benjamin Barr said that the First Amendment “protects the rights of undercover journalists to expose exactly the sort of corruption captured in these videos.”
“Democracy Partners filed a frivolous lawsuit against Project Veritas today claiming that public exposure of Democracy Partners’ wrongdoings is illegal. Nothing could be farther from the truth,” Mr. Barr said in a statement.
In July, Mr. Sandini, who called himself “Charles Roth,” asked Mr. Creamer about an internship for Ms. Maass, saying her name was “Angela Brandt” and that she was on hiatus from college, according to the brief.
“Unbeknownst to any of the Plaintiffs during the period of her internship, she carried on her person at most or all times a camera and audio recording devices which were concealed and not visible to anyone talking or meeting with her in the Democracy Partners’ offices,” the lawsuit said.
As a result, she had access to meetings on “highly sensitive political programs,” as well as computers and file cabinets containing confidential information.
During her training, Mr. Creamer “explicitly told Maass” that any information was “confidential and not to be shared with anyone other than person with whom she had specifically been instructed to share that information,” according to the lawsuit.
In its statement, Project Veritas said that the widely seen videos and related news coverage had a “monumental effect” on the 2016 presidential election between Mr. Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
“Project Veritas appreciates the opportunity to once again discuss its exposure of the inner workings of Hillary Clinton’s dark money campaign, headed unsuccessfully by Bob Creamer,” the statement said.
Mr. Creamer, who has four decades’ experience in politics, is married to Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Illinois Democrat.
Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.