Eva Knott 10:44 a.m., May 18
Court Orders ACORN Scandal Filmmaker to Turn Over Videos
Conservative activist/filmmaker James O’Keefe (pictured) has been ordered to turn over all video footage and other media captured relating to the "nonconsensual taping or recording of others," when visiting Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) offices in National City and elsewhere. The court order was issued by federal Southern District Judge Mitchell Dembin related to an invasion of privacy suit filed by an ACORN employee.
O’Keefe originally made headlines in 2009 when Fox News and Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com website released undercover video purporting to show ACORN employees giving advice to O’Keefe and partner Hannah Giles on how to run an illegal business involving underage girls and prostitution. The videos turned out to be heavily edited and intentionally misleading.
O’Keefe said in n interview that he "targeted ACORN for the same reasons that the political right does: its massive voter registration drives." Before the organization collapsed, largely due to the doctored tapes, it assisted large numbers of people of lower socioeconomic status in registering to vote. This population tends to favor liberal ideologies over conservative ones.
The suit in question is being pursued by Juan Carlos Vera, who was fired from the National City ACORN office after O’Keefe and Giles released video suggesting that Vera was assisting them in smuggling young girls from Tijuana as part of a prostitution ring. In reality, according to an investigation by Jerry Brown, then California Attorney General, Vera called police to file a report on what turned out to be a fake operation, and claims that he was only pretending to cooperate with O’Keefe due to a private conversation with Giles in which she expressed fear and requested his help in escaping from her “pimp.”
In addition to full video footage, the court order also demands all non-privileged communication between O’Keefe, Giles, and Breitbart. O’Keefe and Giles must also disclose any payments received from Breitbart in relation to his website having initial exclusive possession of the originally released videos.