The Not-So-Shocking Latest in the James O'Keefe Saga


Famously subversive conservative thespian James O'Keefe has more critics than most. Since sleazily punishing the community organizing group ACORN into oblivion four years ago, the New Jersey native and former Andrew Breitbart protege has become the scourge and intrigue of not only the progressive left, but also of poor and working class folks everywhere. In my own case, I spent much of this year tracing O'Keefe's odd journey into infamy – a rabbit hole wrapped in an enigma flushed down a rusty toilet in a soiled rubber.

But while I might have had a filthy three-month fling with the O'Keefe saga, there are several writers who have slummed with the near-daily drama for years. Among the most entertaining and dedicated have been Liz Farkas and Matthew Phelan at Wonkette; they've simultaneously secured scoops related to O'Keefe's shady non-profit, Project Veritas, and treated the happenings like the absurd pulp comedy nuggets that they are. That gusto was on fully display yesterday, as Phelan and Farkas dropped a six-figure bombshell that O'Keefe has been ordered to pay $100,000 to a former ACORN worker who was fired in the fallout.

This, of course, comes after that same terminated employee – Juan Carlos Vera – won a settlement against Hannah Giles, who appeared in the ACORN videos dressed as a hooker. In both cases, Vera's California attorney, Gene Iredale, leveraged the clear deception that Project Veritas used in editing and disseminating video of Vera, and charged that O'Keefe violated state law by recording without consent from both parties. For detailed analyses of the entire ACORN sting and the misleading narrative that the media wove around O'Keefe's breakout smash, I recommend wasting your entire weekend perusing the numerous reports done on the series. While he's an unapologetic Project Veritas nemesis, I also recommend Brad Friedman's blog; as the courts have now more or less proven, he had it right even back when the New York Times got caught with their pants down and a fat load of O'Keefe on their face.

As Wonkette also reported, O'Keefe is already claiming his innocence, and raising cash to continue his perpetual truth crusade. If his track record is any indication, he'll probably bounce back from this, both financially and in stature among vulture-conservatives, and perhaps even get some more liberal operatives fired from their jobs. But thanks to the leaked settlement, there's one thing he can't deny – that Iredale and Vera kicked him where it hurts capitalist monsters the worst. From Wonkette:

As Vera’s attorney Gene Iredale suggested to us in a telephone interview, O’Keefe’s willingness to pay this exorbitant sum is, by itself, a tacit admission of guilt. The sum is $35,000 more than James received from Andrew Breitbart for his “life rights” based on the top-shelf (derp-derp) quality of the ACORN videos in the first place. So, a limited amount of justice has been served.

And there's more news, as there always is in the O'Keefe underbelly. For one, Vera's lawyer Iredale is also now representing Nadia Naffe, the former Project Veritas spy who defected from the crew, and who told the Phoenix her entire story for a 10,000-word feature that we dropped last week. Naffe is suing Patrick Frey, a Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney who moonlights as a conservative blogger; she's arguing that Frey's harassment of her – in the wake of her rift with O'Keefe – has caused stress and emotional damage. The case continues in court this month, and should be an interesting spectacle considering the damage Iredale has already inflicted against the rabid right-wing.

If all that's not enough, this particular tidbit about the fiscal wiring at Project Veritas was also quite alarming:

Since at least the spring of 2011, Veritas has contracted its fundraising efforts to the direct-mail marketing firm American Target Marketing. (atm!!! u guyz i just realized ha.) ATM’s founder and owner Richard Art Viguerie is literally on his fourth decade running the operation as an aggressively for-profit entity; it frequently nets more than half of the money raised for its nonprofit or political clients, to cover its own opaque “operational expenditures.”

Finally, today's Wonkette follow-up also includes what may be the juiciest breaking news of all – that O'Keefe has a book coming out in June 2013 (the same month, I'll add, that my next project – I Killed Breitbart – will surface). In it, he is promising to reveal “Never-heard before details surrounding this [Vera] case and much more.” We can't wait for the goods, though the way this story hurdles on, there will probably be more than a few more whoppers before O'Keefe's big literary debut.

| More

 Friends' Activity   Popular 
All Blogs
Follow the Phoenix
  • newsletter
  • twitter
  • facebook
  • youtube
  • rss
Latest Comments
Search Blogs
Phlog Archives