ACORN worker sues O’Keefe and collaborators
Two conservative activists who pretended to be a
pimp and prostitute and sleazy boyfriend* and wore hidden cameras in order to catch ACORN workers in compromising conversations are being sued in federal court in San Diego for at least $75,000.
Juan Carlos Vera, an ACORN employee in National City, filed a lawsuit yesterday against James O’Keefe III, Hanna Giles and John Does, alleging violations of the Invasion of Privacy Act following an interaction last summer.
From the complaint:
On August 18, 2009, at approximately 5:00pm, Defendants O’Keefe and Giles visited the ACORN office in National City, California.
O’Keefe was wearing a hidden camera and recorded audio and video of the visit.
Defendants O’Keefe and Giles conspired to secretly video tape and audio tape Mr. Vera.
Defendants went into Mr. Vera’s office, sat down, and began a conversation.
O’Keefe and Giles asked whether the conversation would be kept confidential and Mr. Vera agreed.
By this time, Defendants O’Keefe and Giles had already secretly videotaped employees of other ACORN office in California and other states.
Vera cites a California law that prohibits recordings of confidential communications without the consent of all the participants.
When O’Keefe released the video, which purportedly contained footage of Vera agreeing to assist them in trafficking underage girls from Mexico for the purpose of prostitution, Vera immediately lost his job.
In April, Attorney General Jerry Brown investigated O’Keefe’s allegations against ACORN and found that O’Keefe had significantly edited the ACORN footage. In Vera’s case, Brown found that the employee had elicited as much information as possible and then turned it over to his brother, a detective with the National City Police.
Download the complaint here.
* I have corrected this to be clear that O’Keefe portayed himself specifically as a pimp only after the fact. To quote from the Attorney General report:
In each of ACORN offices they visited together, Giles posed as a prostitute fleeing an abusive pimp, and O’Keefe posed as her boyfriend, trying to help her, and, in some instances, attempting to benefit from the proceeds of the prostitution trade. Although O’Keefe is dressed in stereotypical 1970s pimp garb in the opening and closing scenes of the videos released on the internet, when O’Keefe visited each of the ACORN offices, ACORN employees reported that he was actually dressed in a shirt and tie. Also, contrary to the suggestion in the edited videos,O’Keefe never stated he was a pimp. Although their story morphed over time, the couple requested advice from ACORN employees related to Giles’ prostitution business, including obtaining a mortgage, reporting income and taxes from the illicit business, avoiding lawenforcement scrutiny, smuggling young girls into the country to serve as prostitutes, and obtaining documentation and voting privileges for them. Woven into the narrative and conversations were tales of Giles’ flight from an abusive pimp and how the girls could be keptsafe from the pimp, albeit employed as prostitutes. O’Keefe wore a hidden camera and secretlyrecorded audio and video of the conversations.