Breitbart’s Dirty Trickster in Court again
In desperate ploy to avert a civil lawsuit from the Acorn employee who was fired after James O’Keefe’s doctored “Gotchamentary,” California courts see the right wing Center for Individual Rights (known for taking cases on religious rights, reverse discrimination, anti voting rights act, parent’s rights, and free speech) squaring off against the ACLU. It’s privacy vs free speech, or the right to practice confrontational gotcha journalism vs the right to know when you are being recorded or taped.
In 2009, O’Keefe made national headlines when he and a female cohort posed as a pimp and prostitute and visited offices of the nonprofit group ACORN around the country. Using a hidden camera, they captured footage that made it seem like ACORN workers were collaborating in human trafficking. California Attorney General Jerry Brown granted O’Keefe immunity from the state’s privacy laws in exchange for the chance to review the footage.
Brown’s investigation found that Juan Carlos Vera, a National City ACORN employee fired after the tapes aired, did nothing wrong and that the video had been edited to distort what happened. In July, Vera filed a $75,000 lawsuit against O’Keefe under the Invasion of Privacy Act, which requires all parties in a confidential conversation to consent to a recording.
The Washington, D.C.-based Center for Individual Rights is defending O’Keefe in several lawsuits. In California, CIR General Counsel Michael Rosman is prepared to argue that the law infringes on the press’ freedom to gather information. He adds that the law doesn’t prevent anyone from talking or writing about confidential conversations, so it really only serves to shield liars.