DETROIT—A federal judge has issued a crucial ruling allowing the American Federation of Teachers to gather information on conservative hit group Project Veritas, as legal and financial pressure on the embattled outfit mounts.
Veritas, run by right-wing activist James O’Keefe, orchestrated an intrusion on the union’s Michigan offices in 2017, dispatching a mole to covertly access documents and record private discussions.
The mole, Marisa Jorge, adopted a pseudonym, “Marissa Perez,” and pretended to be a student at the University of Michigan to gain access to AFT Michigan’s offices as an intern. She allegedly used that access to steal documents and spy on employees.
On Thursday, Judge Linda Parker ruled that the AFT could amend its legal complaint based on the publication of Jorge’s doctored videos, granting legal discovery and paving the way for the union to continue to hold Project Veritas accountable to the law.
Project Veritas has a long history of deploying lies, deception and obfuscation to avoid legal accountability for its actions, including engineering procedural delays, dodging warrants and refusing to participate in the discovery process.
AFT Michigan President David Hecker said: “James O’Keefe and his operative Melissa Jorge deliberately set out to deceive the public as part of a devious attempt to attack teachers and public education. Their tactics were illegal and fraudulent and must be condemned and fully investigated. With this ruling, Judge Parker will allow us to hold Project Veritas to the law it would prefer to flagrantly ignore.”
AFT President Randi Weingarten said: “The AFT and AFT Michigan are committed to holding Project Veritas accountable for its unlawful misrepresentations, infiltrations, and splicing and dicing of unlawfully obtained material to smear teachers and public schools. We are pleased that a federal judge has allowed us to pursue discovery, and we will move forward in our efforts to bring to light the deceptive, unscrupulous distortion tactics Project Veritas is known for.”