Judge: Former ACORN Worker May Sue Right-Wing Criminal

A federal judge has refused to throw out a request from James O’Keefe, who infamously and secretly filmed an ACORN worker while pretending to be a pimp. The selectively-edited video, typical of O’Keefe’s punk hackery, ultimately led to the defunding of ACORN by Congress and its subsequent bankruptcy.

A federal judge has refused to throw out a request from James O’Keefe, who infamously and secretly filmed an ACORN worker while supposedly pretending to be a pimp. The selectively-edited video, typical of O’Keefe’s punk hackery, ultimately led to the defunding of ACORN by Congress and its subsequent bankruptcy.

The video above, from The Rachel Maddow Show that originally aired on April 6, 2010, is part one of that show that details the unedited version of O'Keefe's video which was initially used to depict the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) as assisting a pimp and his accompanying prostitute in human trafficking to show that... wasn't... quite... how it happened.

This portion of the video details everything, including how the defunding of ACORN by Congress was later ruled unconstitutional, and the GAO's 38-page report that surveyed over 31 federal agencies, probing how ACORN used federal funds and whether adequate controls on spending existed. The report found no evidence of fraud, lax oversight or misuse of federal funds. All this came too late for the not-for-profit group, unfortunately. Part two of the show can be viewed here.

Yet even with the release of the original videos before they were edited, and being completely cleared of any wrongdoing by Congress, disparaging reports continue to pop up in the conservative media. Conveniently, they "forget" to mention that fake scandalmonger O'Keefe is a convicted criminal, or that ACORN was cleared by Congress.

Juan Carlos Vera sued O’Keefe, and his associate Hanna Giles in Federal Court on privacy claims, related to O’Keefe secretly filming Vera at an ACORN office in National City in 2009.

Courthouse News Service reports:

"ACORN is in the business of providing counseling and support for the community on various matters," Lorenz wrote. "By its very nature, the organization handles personal matters with individual clients. Defendants walked into ACORN and asked for plaintiff's help with tax forms. ... Specifically, they solicited his help with setting up an illegal prostitution business with underaged girls. ... Plaintiff, as a worker for an organization like ACORN, reasonably believed that the content of the conversation was sensitive enough that it would remain private."
O'Keefe duped Vera by asking if the conversation would remain confidential, before he launched into details of the nonexistent scheme, Lorenz wrote.
Over the course of a 40-minute conversation, Lorenz noted, the three "abruptly paused their conversation" after Vera's supervisor, David Lagstein, entered the office, and continued talking after the supervisor left.
"Based on the surrounding circumstances, plaintiff reasonably believed that the conversation was private because it was held in his office with no one else present, and he believed that no one else was listening in on his conversation," Lorenz wrote.
Because of this "genuine dispute," Lorenz denied O'Keefe's motion for summary judgment.

Pretrial hearings are set for October 15, 2012.

I happen to know a few former ACORNS, all wonderful, kind-hearted people who -- not surprisingly -- again work helping those in need. (Yes, Fox News, former ACORNS have new jobs...is that okay with you?)

If having a day in court with James O'Keefe brings them any solace or would bring some sense of justice, after all the years of great service they provided while with ACORN, and enduring this right-wing witch-hunt, let the ACORN lawsuits commence.

About Diane Sweet

Diane Sweet's picture
Senior Editor, Lives in a gerrymandered district in Michigan.

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