This is someone that I don't generally care to write about, but this time the video is so priceless that I'm going to make an exception. James O'Keefe's "Project Veritas" group released its latest video on Monday, this time recording former U.S. Attorney James Letten calling the conservative activist a "nasty, little cowardly spud," among other things.
O'Keefe and his fellow "hobbits" confronted Letten, formerly a prosecutor for the Eastern District of Louisiana, at Tulane University in New Orleans last month. Letten's office prosecuted O'Keefe and three others in 2010 for posing as a phone crew in order to enter the office of Mary Landrieu (D-LA).
O’Keefe and three others were arrested by federal authorities at Landrieu’s office on allegations of phone-tampering in January 2010.
Originally charged with a felony, O’Keefe was sentenced to three years of probation, 100 hours of community service and a $1,500 fine after he pleaded "guilty" on to misdemeanor charges resulting from his involvement the break-in to then Senator Mary Landrieu.
As reported in July, O'Keefe first attempted to contact Letten at his home, where he tried to speak to the former prosecutor's wife. He then went to Tulane's campus, where Letten is a dean.
"You went to my house, you terrorized my wife, you're violating federal law, you're trespassing, you're a nasty little cowardly spud," Letten said in the video captured by O'Keefe. "All of you, you're hobbits. You are less than I can ever tell you. You are scum. Do you understand?"
Tulane University banned O'Keefe following the incident.
I wonder if Mr. Letten is wishing he'd gone for the felony now?
"Struggling with the bad publicity and loss of federal funds, ACORN dissolved in early 2010. Just to be sure, however, Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) included this language in a government funding bill introduced on May 28 of this year: "None of the funds made available in this Act may be distributed to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) or its subsidiaries or successors." Section 545 of a bill put forward the next day by Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) delves still deeper into faux certainty, extending the funding ban to "any prior appropriations Act." In fact, ACORN has no subsidiaries, because it has not existed for three years. Neither bill defines "successors," but the broad language of the original 2009 funding ban left little room for leeway, extending to "Any State chapter of ACORN registered with the Secretary of State's office in that State," "any organization that shares directors, employees, or independent contractors with ACORN," and any organization that "employs" someone "indicted" for violations that ACORN was initially charged with."
Section 545 of a bill put forward the next day by Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) delves still deeper into faux certainty, extending the funding ban to "any prior appropriations Act."
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.
"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.