ACORN exonerated, O’Keefe video crimes revealed

A long-awaited report on the facts behind discredited videotapes fraudulently edited and distributed by James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles has been released by California Attorney General Jerry Brown. The report documents the immense scope of O’Keefe and Giles’ criminal behavior in which they repeatedly violated state law by secretly recording conversations without the permission of all parties, and then selectively edited those recordings to fraudulently represent the actions of ACORN staff. The report includes unedited video and audio recordings obtained from O’Keefe under a grant of immunity for both he and Giles.

In the course of the investigation Brown’s office also found a small number of unrelated potentially criminal acts on the part of ACORN including failure to file a 2007 tax return, dumping of intact files containing confidential client information, inappropriate transfers of contributed funds and a few isolated instances of potential voter registration fraud. The AG’s office has turned that information over to other state and local agencies for followup.

Regarding the tapes, a press release from Brown’s office had this to say:

Last September, Gov. Schwarzenegger asked Brown to investigate the activities of ACORN in California. His request was triggered by tapes made by undercover videographer James O’Keefe III that purported to show ACORN employees providing advice on how to conduct a prostitution ring and commit other serious crimes.

But new, unedited videotapes discovered through Brown’s investigation, as well as other evidence, shed clearer light on interactions between O’Keefe and the now-defunct ACORN.

Videotapes secretly recorded last summer and severely edited by O’Keefe seemed to show ACORN employees encouraging a “pimp” (O’Keefe) and his “prostitute,” actually a Florida college student named Hannah Giles, in conversations involving prostitution by underage girls, human trafficking and cheating on taxes. Those videos created a media sensation.

Evidence obtained by Brown tells a somewhat different story, however, as reflected in three videotapes made at ACORN locations in California. One ACORN worker in San Diego called the cops. Another ACORN worker in San Bernardino caught on to the scheme and played along with it, claiming among other things that she had murdered her abusive husband. Her two former husbands are alive and well, the Attorney General’s report noted. At the beginning and end of the Internet videos, O’Keefe was dressed as a 1970s Superfly pimp, but in his actual taped sessions with ACORN workers, he was dressed in a shirt and tie, presented himself as a law student, and said he planned to use the prostitution proceeds to run for Congress. He never claimed he was a pimp.

“The evidence illustrates,” Brown said, “that things are not always as partisan zealots portray them through highly selective editing of reality. Sometimes a fuller truth is found on the cutting room floor.”

A story by Judy Lin for the Associated Press, once a respected news source but now no different than FOX News, repeats the fraud perpetrated by O’Keefe:

To obtain the full tapes, Brown’s office agreed not to prosecute conservative activists James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, who played the pimp and prostitute in the video, even though the report found they likely violated state privacy laws.

In fact, O’Keefe and Giles did not appear in ACORN offices dressed as a pimp or prostitute. They did so only in exterior shots, outside of the presence of ACORN staff, and the videos were edited to create the deception still perpetuated by major news media including AP here. False reporting like this may not be a crime, but it is certainly immoral and shows the true Right-Wing agenda of AP and other major media outlets.

The unedited video and audio recordings are viewable here in wmv files.

The full CA AG report is here (PDF 260kb) and an addendum is here (PDF 4795kb).

[Digby has observations.]


3 responses to “ACORN exonerated, O’Keefe video crimes revealed

  1. The Other Sarah

    Graham, have you seen this utterly righteous rebuttal to Congress’ tubthumping?

    BTW: Saw you in the thread at Hullabaloo. Good comment!

  2. grahamfirchlis

    Maddow: “But two things disqualify you from this process: You can’t threaten to shoot people and you have to stop making stuff up.

    But…but…but…there goes the whole VRWC, because they have nothing else, and a fair chunk of the Left as well. Back in ’68 I pulled away from my radical leftist buddies for the same reasons, their arguments had become unhinged from reality and violence was being embraced as a primary tactic. Just can’t get my head around justifying the use of lies and bullying to sway other people, when I hate it being done to me. So grateful for this place to write in, and to you for inviting me. That other place was so damn uncomfortable….

    Sad about ACORN, but the major damage there was self-inflicted and I think they wouldn’t have survived much longer give or take O’Keefe. It may be a blessing that they went quickly, so those driving a new start can try to do better now rather than later.

    Thanks for the compliment. I am such a slut, aren’t I?

  3. Pingback: Professional liar James O’Keefe officially guilty, promises more of the same « Whenceforth Progress

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