James O’Keefe and Project Veritas Settle Lawsuit Over False Voter Fraud Claims Referenced by the Trump Campaign

James O'Keefe in a Lawsuit Over False Voter
Credits: The New York Times

Controversial conservative figure James O’Keefe and his former organization, Project Veritas, have settled a lawsuit filed by Robert Weisenbach, a Pennsylvania postmaster. The lawsuit was initiated after Project Veritas propagated false claims of voter fraud made by a Postal Service worker during the 2020 presidential election.

David Houck, the attorney representing Weisenbach, confirmed that the case had been settled on undisclosed terms, stating, “The only comment I’m allowed to make about it is that the case was filed, was litigated, and settled to the satisfaction of the parties.”

O’Keefe, who was ousted as the head of Project Veritas in February 2023, issued a brief statement on Monday, asserting that he was “aware of no evidence or other allegation that election fraud occurred in the Erie Post Office during the 2020 Presidential Election.”

James O'Keefe in a Lawsuit Over False Voter
James O’Keefe (Credits: Politico)

Protect Democracy, a self-described anti-authoritarian group involved in Weisenbach’s suit, also stated that the case was resolved in a manner acceptable to all parties. Project Veritas, as of the time of reporting, has not responded to requests for comments on the settlement. The lawsuit originated from Project Veritas amplifying the claims of Richard Hopkins, a Trump supporter working as a mail carrier during the 2020 election.

Hopkins alleged that Weisenbach, the Erie postmaster, made statements about illegally backdating mail-in ballots. However, Hopkins later retracted his statement after Sen. Lindsey Graham cited it in a letter to the Justice Department.

In a statement published by O’Keefe and Project Veritas on Monday, Hopkins admitted he had “only heard a fragment” of a conversation between Weisenbach and another supervisor.

Hopkins acknowledged his mistake and stated, “As I have now learned, I was wrong. Mr. Weisenbach was not involved in any inappropriate behavior concerning the 2020 Presidential Election.”

Hopkins apologized to Weisenbach and urged everyone to let the Weisenbach family return to their normal lives. Former President Donald Trump had praised Hopkins as a “brave patriot” in a tweet a week after the election, and the Trump campaign cited his claims in litigation.

O’Keefe, in his statement on Monday, acknowledged the error, mentioning that the story “was based on Richard Hopkins’ claim that he had overheard Robert Weisenbach, the Erie Postmaster, direct another USPS supervisor to backdate mail-in ballots illegally.”

O’Keefe expressed regret, stating, “Mr. Hopkins has since come to learn that he was wrong — neither Mr. Weisenbach nor any other USPS employee in Erie, Pennsylvania engaged in election fraud or any other wrongdoing related to mail-in ballots.”

This settlement occurred at a challenging time for Project Veritas, which faced layoffs and suspended operations in the previous year. In December, a federal judge rejected a First Amendment defense by Project Veritas concerning an investigation into the theft of a diary belonging to President Joe Biden’s daughter.

Project Veritas’s former chief executive, Hannah Giles, also announced her departure, citing evidence of past illegality and financial improprieties.

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