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Courthouse News Service: Pseudo-Journalist Must Produce Video Footage
-By Heather Johnson
September 27, 2011- SAN DIEGO (CN) Activist and pseudo-journalist James O'Keefe must produce video footage and other communication in a discovery dispute connected to an invasion of privacy suit filed by an employee of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), a federal judge ruled.
The lawsuit stems from an attempted video "sting" conducted by O'Keefe, accompanied by defendant Hanna Giles, dressed as a prostitute.
Many media reports characterized O'Keefe as posing as a pimp since he wore "stereotypical 1970s pimp garb" in the opening and closing scenes of certain videos he released, but he wore a shirt and tie in the actual encounters, identifying himself as Giles' concerned boyfriend, according to the California Attorney General's Office.
The duo visited the ACORN office in National City, Calif., wearing a hidden camera. O'Keefe recorded audio and video of his visit, which included an allegedly "confidential" conversation with plaintiff Juan Carlos Vera.
O'Keefe also secretly videotaped employees at other ACORN offices during conversations involving prostitution, human trafficking and cheating on taxes, among other topics. O'Keefe then heavily edited the video footage to release only the most damning comments on the Internet. O'Keefe was reportedly forced to release the tapes to then-Attorney General Jerry Brown, but not before the tapes also made their way to media outlets such as "Fox News" and "Drudge Report," among others.
Southern District Judge Mitchell Dembin ordered O'Keefe to produce all media that he has published that relates to the "nonconsensual taping or recording of others."
O'Keefe and defendant Giles are both required to disclose any payments made to them by Andrew Brietbart, who controls the website upon which the ACORN videos were released, as the information may relate to their respective intent in producing the videos.
O'Keefe must also produce all non-privileged communication between himself and defendant Giles as well as with Brietbart that pertains to plaintiff and the video involving plaintiff.
Discovery requests that relate to a "larger scheme" to record ACORN employees are irrelevant to plaintiff's case, and defendants are not required to respond.