It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Police report filed by ACORN exposes false claims by individuals behind videos
September 17, 2009 3:57 pm ET — 198 Comments
In recent days, Hannah Giles and James O'Keefe, the conservative filmmakers who made the widely circulated ACORN videos, as well as Andrew Breitbart and Mike Flynn, who have been promoting the videos for BigGovernment.com, have claimed that the filmmakers were never rebuffed by any of the ACORN offices they visited in their attempts to get ACORN to assist them in improper activities. However, in a newly released video, ACORN Housing Corp.'s Katherine Conway Russell directly rebuts those claims, citing a police report ACORN filed as evidence that she asked the filmmakers to leave the ACORN office in Philadelphia and called the police after the filmmakers asked suspicious questions.
Giles, O'Keefe, Breitbart, and Flynn each claimed every ACORN office the filmmakers visited was complicit
Giles answered "No" to the question: "[Y]ou didn't go into one office, and they said, 'We're not going to help you do anything like that?' " On the September 16 edition of Fox News' Hannity, Sean Hannity interviewed Giles, a Townhall.com columnist, and Andrew Breitbart, founder of BigGovernment.com, the website that first posted the ACORN videos. During the interview, Hannity asked Giles: "[W]hen you go to Baltimore and D.C. and New York and San Bernardino and San Diego, and this all happened, were there any cities you went to where you just didn't get any videotape not worthy to air?" Giles replied: "We are airing it. It's pretty worthy. Everyone seems to be -- ." Hannity then asked: "In other words, you didn't go into one office, and they said, 'We're not going to help you do anything like that?' " Giles responded, "No."
James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles, who played the role of pimp and prostitute in the video, were both deposed in a civil suit. O'Keefe wore a suit, while Giles donned a dark blouse, in contrast to the images that are familiar to many.
Back in 2009, they were the ones applying the pressure. After posing as pimp and prostitute, the two filmed undercover footage at an office in National City that appeared to show ACORN worker Juan Carlos Vera giving tips on bringing teen prostitutes across the border.
After the footage was posted by conservative activist Andrew Breitbart, Vera was fired. A state probe eventually confirmed Vera was simply playing along with the pimp conversation and had called police.
Eventually, amid a string of other videos, ACORN lost its federal funding and dissolved.
Vera filed suit, claiming O'Keefe had violated state privacy laws, and in a March deposition, there were some revealing statements from O'Keefe.
"He [Breitbart] said he would like to find a way for me to get paid to publish the videos," testified O'Keefe.
O'Keefe gave details about the payout. He testified that before the San Diego undercover taping, Breitbart first saw undercover ACORN videos from the East Coast and wanted to see more.
"Now we have evidence for the first time, Breitbart agreed in advance to participate in the violation of California law," said Gene Iredale, Vera's attorney.
O'Keefe said he was eventually paid $65,000 by Breitbart to blog about the video.
Independent investigations were made by state attorney generals of Massachusetts and California, and the U.S. Attorney of Brooklyn, New York; their reports were released beginning in December 2009 and extending through April 2010. The attorney general's office in Massachusetts and the U.S. Attorney for Brooklyn concluded that the ACORN workers had committed no criminal activity and that the videos were "heavily edited" to present material out of context and create a misleading impression of activities.
The California Attorney General granted immunity to O'Keefe and Giles in exchange for their raw videos shot at three California ACORN offices. Its comparison of the raw videos with the released versions found that the published videos had been heavily edited to misrepresent the workers and the situations so as to suggest criminal intent and activity. The California report was followed by one by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, which reported there was no evidence that ACORN workers had misused government funds or participated in the criminal activities represented in the videos. But, ACORN was effectively destroyed by then.
Though O'Keefe described himself as a progressive radical, not a conservative, he said he targeted ACORN for the same reasons that the political right does: its massive voter registration drives that turn out poor African Americans and Latinos against Republicans.
James O’Keefe, master of the video sting, targets NPR this time, in a pretty damaging interview with Ron Schiller, NPR’s senior vice president for development, and Betsy Liley, senior director of institutional giving.
O’Keefe’s compatriots, Shaughn Adeleye and Simon Templar, posed as members of a Muslim group with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood that wants to give NPR $5 million in light of the recent Republican threats to defund public broadcasting.
In the course of a lunch at Café Milano, Schiller presents himself as a liberal who thinks the tea party is “scary” and that there are not enough Muslim voices on the American airwaves, nodding as his lunchmates say they are glad NPR allows Hamas's and Hezbollah's views to be heard.
He claims the Republican party has been “hijacked” by the tea party, and when one of his lunch partner’s suggests that they’re “radical, racist, Islamaphobic, Tea Party people,” Schiller says, they’re “not just Islamaphobic, but really xenophobic, I mean basically they are, they believe in sort of white, middle-America gun-toting. I mean, it’s scary. They’re seriously racist, racist people.”
He also veers pretty wildly off the script that NPR CEO Vivian Schiller clung to during her address to the National Press Club Monday, saying “it is very clear that in the long run we would be better off without federal funding.” Vivian Schiller (no relation) was very careful to make the point Monday that while federal funding is only about 10 percent of NPR’s budget, it’s essential.
It was announced yesterday that Ron Schiller is leaving NPR to take a job at the Aspen Institute.
Schiller did say some bad things, the Blaze found. But the short video took them out of context, like a bad reality show, and made them sound worse. It transposed remarks from a different part of the meeting to make it seem as if Schiller were amused by the group's "goal" of spreading Shari'a law. It left examples of his complimenting Republicans on the cutting-room floor.
And that Tea Party quote? Schiller was, for at least part of it, describing the views of some Republican friends. Somehow — oops! — O'Keefe left that bit out.
The full video hardly clears Schiller. His opining about liberals' education and conservatives' anti-intellectualism, for instance, still comes off as smug and would have hurt NPR regardless. (The network was still feeling backlash from firing Juan Williams last fall after he said on Fox that some Muslims on planes made him nervous.) But the full picture shows O'Keefe's partisan hit job — trying to link NPR to liberal elitism and scary Muslims — was manipulative too.
The incident occurred in August, when Boudreau agreed to meet O'Keefe to discuss CNN's request to be present on set for a music video shoot in which O'Keefe stars.
For months, CNN had been following a group of young conservative activists, including Christian Hartsock, the director of the music video. The activists will be featured in a documentary, "Right on the Edge," that will air October 2 and 3.
Hartsock said O'Keefe did not want CNN to shoot on the set of the music video, but said he would encourage O'Keefe to call CNN to discuss the request.
O'Keefe called Boudreau on August 10. During the conversation, he said he preferred that Boudreau meet him in person in Maryland and asked that she come alone.
"I just want to talk," O'Keefe told Boudreau on the phone. "I just want to have a, you know, meeting with you, and talk to you face to face about this. Because, I don't, I feel sort of, let's just say reserved about, about letting people into my sort of inner sanctum, about letting, letting people sort of take a glimpse into, into, behind the scenes, so that's why you know, I just feel more comfortable if it was just me and you and we just had a face-to-face meeting before I agree to, to let you guys come out and shoot the video shoot out there."
The phone call was recorded without Boudreau's knowledge, but CNN obtained a copy of the recording after O'Keefe e-mailed it to friends and colleagues. Boudreau agreed to the meeting, which she understood would be in his office.
"The purpose of the meeting was to explain [the CNN story] in person to James," Boudreau said.
CNN was forwarded an e-mail, sent from O'Keefe's e-mail address, to the executive director of Project Veritas, Izzy Santa; and two conservative activists, Ben Wetmore of New Orleans and Jonathon Burns of St. Louis, Missouri, dated after the call with Boudreau.
"Getting Closer," the e-mail states. "Audio attached conversation with Abbie. What do you think of her reaction guys. She said she could do it Monday, Tuesday. Ben, you think I could get her on the boat?"
Boudreau flew to Baltimore, Maryland, on August 17, rented a car, and drove to suburban Lusby, where O'Keefe wanted to meet. O'Keefe sent a text message to Boudreau that morning, saying that Santa would meet her when she got there.
When Boudreau arrived at the address, a house located on a tributary of the Patuxent River, Santa approached her with a tape recorder in her hand and said she wanted to talk in the car, Boudreau said.
"I noticed she had a little bit of dirt on her face, her lip was shaking, she seemed really uncomfortable and I asked her if she was OK," Boudreau said. "The first thing she basically said to me was, 'I'm not recording you, I'm not recording you. Are you recording me?' I said, 'No, I'm not recording you,' and she showed me her digital recorder and it was not recording."
Santa told Boudreau that O'Keefe planned to "punk" her by getting on a boat where hidden cameras were set up. Boudreau said she would not get on the boat and asked Santa why O'Keefe wanted her there.
Izzy told me that James was going to be dressed up and have strawberries and champagne on the boat, and he was going to hit on me the whole time," Boudreau said.
A short time later, O'Keefe emerged from a boat docked behind the house. In that brief conversation, Boudreau told O'Keefe that he did not have permission to record her, and reminded him that the meeting was solely to discuss the upcoming music video shoot, and he had never mentioned that he wanted to tape their meeting.
Boudreau ended the meeting and left. After the incident, Santa gave CNN a series of e-mails she says shows O'Keefe intended to try to embarrass both the network and Boudreau through an elaborate plan.
The day of the meeting, she wrote to someone she described as a financial donor to Project Veritas. She would not identify the individual.
"I have a problem on my hands that I think has the potential for unnecessary backlash," Santa wrote. "Today, James is meeting with a CNN correspondent today on his boat. She is doing a piece on the movement of young conservative filmmakers.
"She doesn't know she is getting on a boat but rather James' office. James has staged the boat to be a palace of pleasure with all sorts of props, wants to have a bizarre sexual conversation with her. He wants to gag CNN."
She wrote that "the idea is incredibly bad" and "the more I think about it we should not be doing this."
O'Keefe had also instructed Santa to print a "pleasure palace graphic" on a large poster, according to an e-mail.
CNN later obtained a copy of a 13-page document titled "CNN Caper," which appears to describe O'Keefe's detailed plans for that day.
"The plans appeared so outlandish and so juvenile in tone, I questioned whether it was part of a second attempted punk," Boudreau said.
But in a phone conversation, Santa confirmed the document was authentic. Listed under "equipment needed," is "hidden cams on the boat," and a "tripod and overt recorder near the bed, an obvious sex tape machine."
Magistrate Daniel Knowles III, who cited the defendants’ potential as investigative journalists though he was critical of this incident, sentenced Mr. O’Keefe, 25, to three years of probation, 100 hours of community service and a $1,500 fine. As Mr. O’Keefe was considered the ringleader, his fellow defendants, Joseph Basel, Stan Dai and Robert Flanagan, were given lesser sentences of two years of probation, 75 hours of community service and $1,500 fines.
On Jan. 25, two of the men entered the office of Ms. Landrieu, a Democrat, pretending to be telephone repairmen, one of them wearing a hidden video camera on his hard hat. Mr. O’Keefe was also in the office pretending to wait for a friend, but secretly recording the interaction, and another man was waiting outside. All four were arrested and eventually charged with entering federal property under false pretenses, a misdemeanor. The charge carries a maximum term of six months in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Mr. O’Keefe has said they were in the office because of reports that Ms. Landrieu’s constituents had trouble reaching her office during the health care debate, though a spokesman for the senator said that her voice mail and that of several other senators were jammed at the time by an unusually high volume of calls.
Officials with the controversial community organizing group ACORN were secretly videotaped offering to assist two individuals posing as a pimp and a prostitute, encouraging them to lie to the Internal Revenue Service and providing guidance on how to claim underage girls from South America as dependents.
The videotape was made public Thursday on BigGovernment.com, a political blog launched by Andrew Breitbart as a companion site to his BigHollywood.breitbart.com blog.
In the videotape, made on July 24, James O'Keefe, a 25-year-old independent filmmaker, posed as a pimp with a 20-year-old woman named "Kenya" who posed as a prostitute while visiting ACORN's office in Baltimore. The couple told ACORN staffers they wanted to secure housing where the woman could continue to maintain a prostitution business.
ACORN Officials Videotaped Telling 'Pimp,' 'Prostitute' How to Lie to IRS
Two employees at the Baltimore, Maryland, branch of the liberal community organizing group ACORN were caught on tape allegedly offering advice to a pair posing as a pimp and prostitute on setting up a prostitution ring and evading the IRS.
The video footage -- which has been edited and goes to black in some areas -- was recorded and posted online Thursday by James O'Keefe, a conservative activist. He was joined on the video by another conservative, Hannah Giles, who posed as the prostitute in the filmmakers' undercover sting.
ACORN workers caught on tape
Originally posted by LDragonFire
This is typical of right wing propaganda a ounce of truth with a whole lot of video editing...
Good thread OP but don't expect too much agreement, ATS is very right wing at the moment, ha the koch brothers dollars at work...
Originally posted by LDragonFire
reply to post by xuenchen
Who lied publicly?
Based on our investigation, we offer the following comments:
1. Three of the six videos – Brooklyn, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. –
involved only ACORN Housing employees, over which ACORN has no
2. The released videos offer no evidence of a pattern of illegal conduct by
ACORN employees. In fact, out of the three videos involving ACORN
employees, at least two involve extenuating circumstances.
3. The ACORN employees captured on video were members or part-time staff.
They were not organizers or supervisory level employees.
4. None of the individuals captured on video consented to being video- or audiotaped, and four of the states where the videos were recorded appear to prohibit
such taping without consent.
5. In offices where the videographers spoke with organizers, videos were not
6. Police reports regarding the video incidents were filed in Philadelphia and San
7. The released videos were edited or manipulated by the videographers and/or
individual(s) acting on their behalf.
8. There is no evidence that any action, illegal or otherwise, was taken by
ACORN employees on behalf of the videographers.
9. Experienced forensic investigators would be able to determine the extent to
which the released videos have been manipulated to distort, rather than merely
shape, the facts and the conversations, as ACORN alleges.
The video set up by conservative activist-reporters James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles — which seemed to capture ACORN employees advising a pimp and prostitute how to get a mortgage — was deemed by the Brooklyn District Attorney's office to be a "heavily edited" splice job, after a five-and-a-half-month probe. Sources told the Post that "many of the seemingly crime-encouraging answers were taken out of context so as to appear more sinister." No charges will be filed. [NYP]
Nearly two dozen members of Congress requested an investigation after a series of complaints against ACORN and its affiliates. The complaints included an embezzlement matter, several cases of voter registration fraud, and the release of edited and misleading videotapes, secretly made by conservative activists that appeared to implicate ACORN workers in several offices facilitating prostitution. In fact the staff in most of ACORN's offices turned the pair away, reported the couple to the police, refused to provide them any aid, and in one case tried to convince the phony prostitute to get counseling. In no ACORN office did employees file any paperwork or do anything illegal on the duo's behalf.
But Fox News broadcasted the deceptive tapes nearly around the clock for several days defaming ACORN.
While Republicans in Congress, who for years had accused ACORN of corruption, used the phony tapes to lead an effort to successfully strip the group of federal funding in 2009. Months later the group was exonerated from any wrongdoing by every official and independent investigation.
After the broadcast of the videotapes on Fox and CNN, the New York Times and Washington Post inaccurately reported that the ACORN workers in several offices facilitated prostitution. The papers also reported that O'Keefe was dressed up in a cartoonish pimp garb when he entered the ACORN offices, when he actually wore a dress shirt and slacks and identified himself as a student or friend of the young woman who posed as a prostitute. As a result of the conservative's smear campaign and the media's erroneous reporting of the smears as true, the U. S. Congress defunded ACORN, which led to many of its funders and allies to withdraw their support.
An independent investigation by the Brooklyn District Attorney's office and the Attorney General of California vindicated ACORN of any wrongdoing. A federal judge ruled that the law barring the group's receipt of federal funds was unconstitutional.