Project Veritas Ex-Legal Chief Joins Law Firm Targeting Fox News

The former chief attorney for Project Veritas, a conservative activist group that uses undercover videos to try to discredit perceived liberal media, has gone to work for the law firm suing Fox News for $1.6 billion.

Jered Ede joined Clare Locke this month, according to his LinkedIn profile. The boutique litigation firm represents Dominion Voting Systems Inc. in its defamation lawsuit against Fox Corp.’s cable news network. Ede also lists his Clare Locke role on his state bar registrations in California and Texas.

His new employer, while not solely targeting perceived liberal targets, has a track record like Project Veritas of challenging mainstream media. Clare Locke advised Sarah Palin in the former Alaska governor’s successful appeal of an initial dismissal of a defamation lawsuit against the New York Times and it worked for Project Veritas in another defamation case against CNN.

Ede began working for Project Veritas in 2020, according to court filings, news reports and other biographical materials. He appears to have left the group in December, when Project Veritas posted a job opening for a general counsel.

Ede’s LinkedIn profile states he was chief legal officer for a nonprofit from July 2020 to December 2022 but doesn’t name the organization. He does tout his former role as legal chief for Project Veritas on his Twitter profile.

Clare Locke is an Alexandria, Virginia-based firm founded by Thomas Clare and Elizabeth “Libby” Locke, two former Kirkland & Ellis partners who are married to one another. Clare Locke specializes in complex litigation and defamation law.

Ede, Clare, Locke, and Project Veritas didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Clare and Locke, in a 2021 Bloomberg News profile on the self-described conservative couple, emphasized that their firm is apolitical. It represents former Tennessee Rep. Harold Ford Jr. and Locke advises former Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax—both Democrats, Bloomberg News noted.

“Reputation and truth are nonpartisan issues, and that’s how we are too,” Clare told Bloomberg for the 2021 article.

Legal Fights

Clare Locke, which represents Dominion along with Susman Godfrey, earlier this year prevented Fox from securing certain legal protections in the dispute over on-air accusations about rigging the 2020 election that the company claims seriously damaged its reputation.

The case has revealed correspondence between Fox hosts and executives, including testimony from chairman Rupert Murdoch and a deposition from Viet Dinh, the company’s chief legal and policy officer.

Ahead of joining the firm, Ede said in a Feb. 8 tweet that it “was an honor” to be invited by Locke and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) to a roundtable discussion about “much needed reforms in defamation law.”

Florida’s legislature is considering a bill that reportedly would make it easier for public figures to sue their detractors for defamation. The Freedom of the Press Foundation said in a statement last month that the bill backed by DeSantis would help politicians in “weaponizing the courts against their critics.”

DeSantis, in public remarks delivered during his roundtable event last month, said he supported legislation that would “stand up for the little guy against these massive media conglomerates.”

Project Veritas

Project Veritas, started more than a decade ago by its former leader, James O’Keefe III, has generated both controversy and headlines by targeting companies, media organizations, universities, and other nonprofits to reveal supposed liberal leanings. The group, however, parted ways with O’Keefe last month.

Ede, prior to joining Project Veritas, spent a decade as a private practice litigator. He was a partner and associate at Hall Griffin, a civil litigation firm with offices in four states, and an associate at Irvine, Calif.-based Urtnowski & Associates.

Project Veritas has employed other in-house lawyers in recent years.

John Sullivan received nearly $146,000 in total compensation from Project Veritas in 2019 as the nonprofit’s general counsel, according to the organization’s most recent US federal tax filing.

The document shows that the group also paid nearly $479,000 to Statecraft, a Phoenix-based boutique formed by ex-Big Law practice leader Kory Langhofer that also represented former President Donald Trump in 2020 election litigation.

Project Veritas also paid roughly $417,000 in fiscal 2019 to Miami’s Calli Law; more than $377,000 to Womble Bond Dickinson; and about $364,000 to Herrick, Feinstein.

Calli Law managing partner Paul Calli has in recent years represented Project Veritas and O’Keefe in litigation with a Democratic activist and in matters related to the diary of Ashley Biden, the daughter of President Joe Biden.

A separate tax filing covering the 2020-21 fiscal year shows that a political action fund affiliated with Project Veritas paid more than $153,000 to Calli Law and nearly $187,000 to Chicago- and Washington-based Barr & Klein.

Barr & Klein, formed by two former Statecraft lawyers, has through name partner Benjamin Barr served as First Amendment special counsel to Project Veritas.

Zachary Kramer, Project Veritas’s former director of litigation, was promoted in December to senior associate general counsel for the organization, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Sullivan, Langhofer, Calli, Barr and Kramer didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Bessie Venters

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