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ACORN Sues Filmmakers For $2 Million

From a cheering Associated Press:

ACORN employee Tonja Thompson.

ACORN sues filmmakers

By BEN NUCKOLS, Associated Press Writer

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Baltimore, MD (AP) — ACORN and two former employees of its Baltimore office filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit Wednesday against the makers of a hidden-camera video that showed the employees giving tax advice to a man posing as a pimp and a woman posing as a prostitute.

The liberal activist group contends that the audio portion of the video was obtained illegally because Maryland law requires the consent of both parties to record private conversations.

The employees seen in the video, Tonja Thompson and Shera Williams, were fired after it was posted online. Thompson and Williams are plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which says they suffered "extreme emotional distress with attendant physical symptoms and injury to their reputations."

The lawsuit names James O’Keefe III and Hannah Giles, who played the pimp and prostitute in the video, as defendants. It also names conservative columnist and blogger Andrew Breitbart of Los Angeles, who posted it on his Web site, biggovernment.com…

The lawsuit claims the video damaged ACORN’s reputation and asks for injunctions barring its further broadcast or distribution. It seeks $2 million in compensatory damages — $1 million for ACORN and $500,000 for each of the two former employees — as well as $1 million in punitive damages from each of the three defendants.

Andrew D. Freeman — an attorney for ACORN, Thompson and Williams — said the former employees did not wish to comment but that the emotional distress claim "is not an exaggeration."

"They’re doing their best not to watch television. They’ve sort of been prisoners in their own homes," Freeman said. "While everyone, including them, agrees that some of the things they said were dumb, in Maryland we have a right to say dumb things in the privacy of our homes and offices without fear of being taped and without fear of being splashed all over the Internet."

Thankfully, we are not a lawyer. But we strongly doubt that the Maryland law covers such investigative reporting, or it would have been trotted out many times in the past.

But it should keep the story alive and hopefully provide more information about this criminal enterprise.

(Thanks to BillK for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, September 24th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

20 Responses to “ACORN Sues Filmmakers For $2 Million”

  1. BillK says:

    We all knew this was coming.

    From a giddy Associated Press:

    ACORN sues filmmakers

    By Ben Nuckols

    ACORN and two former employees of its Baltimore office filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit Wednesday against the makers of a hidden-camera video that showed the employees giving tax advice to a man posing as a pimp and a woman posing as a prostitute.

    The liberal activist group contends that the audio portion of the video was obtained illegally because Maryland law requires the consent of both parties to record private conversations.

    The employees seen in the video, Tonja Thompson and Shera Williams, were fired after it was posted online. Thompson and Williams are plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which says they suffered “extreme emotional distress with attendant physical symptoms and injury to their reputations.”

    The lawsuit names James O’Keefe III and Hannah Giles, who played the pimp and prostitute in the video, as defendants. It also names conservative columnist and blogger Andrew Breitbart of Los Angeles, who posted it on his Web site, biggovernment.com.

    Brietbart said he would respond with his lawyer to a request for comment. He told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday that he looked forward to a lawsuit because he expects unsavory details about ACORN to be unearthed in the discovery process.

    O’Keefe and Giles could not immediately be reached. Asked by Fox News earlier this month about the possibility of a lawsuit, O’Keefe said, “Bring it on.”

    “It’s not in their interest to attack me and Hannah,” O’Keefe told Fox News. “If they want to equate sex trafficking of young girls with videotaping someone without their consent, that’s their moral prerogative, but that just shows you how low they are.” …

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2009/09/23/state/n155953D48.DTL

    Only a liberal could say with a straight face:

    they suffered “extreme emotional distress with attendant physical symptoms and injury to their reputations.”

    Not that giving advice on how to setup a brothel with underage workers imported from abroad is inherently bad or anything.

  2. proreason says:

    What’s the matter with this?

    Obamy voters have to make a living, don’t they?

    Sueing Whitey is a big part of how they support themselves.

    Their future benefactors should be grateful that the demand is so low.

    And besides, perhaps one of both of the victims of this atrocity had ancestors, or know somebody that had ancestors, that were slaves 8 to 10 generations ago.

    Maybe they even got pulled over for speeding tickets, or some other racists actions like that.

    Where is the Social Justice?

  3. Petronius says:

    “in Maryland we have a right to say dumb things in the privacy of our homes and offices without fear of being taped ….”

    No shame. Open criminality of the most despicable sort –– but no shame.

    Maryland seems to have lost its sense of smell.

  4. Greta made an interesting point.. They are now open to discovery by those whom they are suing.. Imagine the dirt.. oh my..

    Oh mentioned above as well.. lol my bad..

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      As others and I have mentioned….Unexpected consequences. It is to laugh, Jason. Yup…when the paralegals show up to examine all their files and they say “Whatchu doin?” and they show them the court order….then the fur flies…

      Then, they figure out they have access to the filmaker’s files…the whole half a box….and then maybe the light bulb comes on…or maybe it doesn’t.

      2 million dollars. Hm. I will be laughing about this for some time.

    • proreason says:

      I’m beginning to prefer Greta to O’Reilly as my go-to moderate.

      O’Reilly’s ego is second only to the Moron’s. He gives himself 200% of the credit for Fox’s success and doesn’t think sitting in the most watched hour on the only Un-Libwit network has anything to do with his ratings.

      At least Greta admits there are some things in life she doesn’t understand.

    • Petronius says:

      Pro: I concur. I seldom miss Greta these days. She has top guests, interesting features, and razor sharp analysis. Whereas O’Reilly has become so full of himself. O’Reilly is also too forgiving of Nerobama and the criminal gangsters, and too harsh on conservatives who stand up to the gangsters. He seems to have lost his way.

    • Liberals Demise says:

      It’s all the make up he wears, Petronius.

      I’m quite sure it wasn’t animal tested first!

      Bill had Barney Fwank on last night and I thought they was gonna ……. share an umbrella drink after the show. There was absolutely no fire coming from the Billster! Too bad ………

  5. bousquem says:

    There is a line between saying something dumb and conspiracy to facilitate a crime, the ACORN bozos clearly crossed the line and now want to shut down anyone who would expose them. I don’t see how helping set up prostitution business is going to help improve the inner city communites. I tendlooked at these claims of emotional suffering and think the demands for damages are over blown, too many times it is used as an excuse to bilk money from somone when nothing really happened. With these mult-million dollar lawsuits ACORN is probably trying to bankrupt the film makers and blogger so that no more skeletons will be exposed from the closet.

  6. Georgfelis says:

    Meanwhile at Acorn: “Discovery? Quick Harry, fire up the industrial strength shredder. We’re working overtime tonight.”

  7. KarlUshanka says:

    $2 million? That’s it? Why not sue for all the lost government revenue they are losing? It could be $8.5 billion if – and it is a strong “if” – the story sticks and congress’ and Obama’s hands are forced to fully defund ACORN.

    $2 million so when they quietly drop the suit, it will be explained away as minor in the grand scheme of things?

    Karl, Ushanka.us

  8. GTBurns says:

    It looks like President Obama may be forced to de-fund Obama. The GOP voted aganist them because they HATE Acorn, the DEMS voted to de-fund them because they want to distance themselves from the stink. Now the IRS is on them, no one gets away from the IRS ask Wesley Snipes.

  9. MinnesotaRush says:

    So .. I’m wondering if o-blah-blah will be providing some legal guidance – assistance for his dear and trusted friends over at ACORN that were going to be part of his whitehouse and administration (remember the campaign & coronation).

    If ACORN is going to be stopped, they better cut and burn EVERY branch of that bundle of nuts! ALL of them .. EVERYONE of them!

    Or .. they’ll just surface under another name and location to steal tax payer dollars and launder money for the dirty boys as usual.

    Hope O’Keefe and Hannah counter sue for 10 times the ACORN amount.

  10. canary says:

    The defense can find plenty of criminals to testify that what the women’s
    distress and bad reputations are normal for them to experience. Those
    trashy women will be treated like hero’s among their peers.

  11. canary says:

    361 ACORN spin-offs. Obama, Michelle, Ted Kennedy donations
    http://spectator.org/archives/2009/09/05/the-war-on-watchdogs/1
    &
    Columbia University School of Law
    Harvard University School of Law
    Cornell University School of Law
    Yale University School of Law
    NorthWestern University of Law
    Legal Aid Society of Hawaii
    DWA Legal Aid
    USCRI, BAYAC, St. Hope, NCCC, WBC, CDC, NEA, APALC, APISA
    EJW, ACLF, NLADA, CNCS, EJWACLF, WNYLC, BCGA, Segal,
    Equal Justice Works, Friends of Justice, and on and on.

    They have their own health insurance plan even. And here they are going around like they don’t. They have free legal service, forgiveness association, to get out of paying school loans, and on and on.
    They are everywhere. Politicans working with them, Ton’s of adds wanting to hire for legal aid issues. Everykind of legal aid for any difficulty you can imagine. Help with divorces, any problem you have.

    One site said they do not represent you in criminal matters, BUT to give them a call them anyways. They are everywhere.

    This link gives some more and a pdf congressional record. Just a few I picked out from this list. http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=181_1252768591

    9. MHANY Brooklyn, NY
    14. AISJ Washington, DC
    18. ACHC Little Rock, AR
    19. ANP Little Rock, AR
    21. KABF Little Rock, AR
    40. AGAPE Dallas, TX
    57. ALERT New Orleans, LA
    58. AISJ New Orleans, LA
    63. HOTROC New Orleans, LA
    97. c/o the Progressive Center Tallahassee, FL
    101. Floridians For All Miami, FL
    104. ACORN Honolulu, HI
    117 Peace and Social Justice Center of South Central Kansas Wichita, KS
    124. Edison Neighborhood Center Kalamazoo, MI
    127.Financial Justice Center St. Paul, MN
    146. Lagrange Village Council Toledo, OH
    164. Beverly, L.L.C.
    166. Arkansas Community Housing Corporation
    185. Mott Haven ACORN Housing Development Fund
    186. Mutual Housing Association of New York, Inc.
    190. Broad Street Corporation
    191. Elysian Fields Corporation
    195. Dumont Avenue Housing Development Fund
    196. Elysian Fields Partnership
    197. Fifteenth Street Corporation
    199. Development Fund Corporation
    200. New York Organizing and Support Center, Inc
    201. Baltimore Organizing and Support Center, Inc.
    202. Chicago Organizing and Support Center, Inc.
    203. Houston Organizing and Support Center, Inc.
    204. 5301 McDougall Corporation
    205. New Mexico Organizing and Support Center, Inc.
    206. New York Organizing and Support Center, Inc.
    207. Phoenix Organizing and Support Center, Inc.
    208. 385 Palmetto Street Housing Development Fund Corporation
    209. Sixth Avenue Corporation
    210. 4415 San Jacinto Street Corporation
    211. St. Louis Organizing and Support Center, Inc.
    212. St. Louis Tax Reform Group, Inc.
    213. Greenwell Springs Corporation
    214. Austin Organizing and Support Center, Inc.
    215. Boston Organizing and Support Center, Inc.
    216. American Home Day Care Workers Association, Inc.
    217. American Workers Association
    218. Baton Rouge Association of School Employees, Inc.
    219. Hospitality Hotel and Restaurant Organizing Council
    220. Illinois Home Child Care Workers Association, Inc.
    221. Labor Link, Inc.
    222. Labor Neighbor Research and Training Center, Inc.
    223. Missouri Home Child Care Workers Association, Inc.
    224. Middle South Home Day Care Workers Association, Inc.
    225. Wal-Mart Alliance for Reform Now, Inc.
    226. Wal-Mart Association for Reform Now
    227. Working Families Association, Inc.
    228. Wal-Mart Workers Association, Inc.
    229. People Organizing Workfare Workers/ACORN/CWA, Inc.
    230. Texas United City-County Employees, Inc.
    231. Texas United School Employees, Inc.
    232. United Labor Foundation of Greater New Orleans, Inc.
    233. United Security Workers of America
    ***234. Orleans Criminal Sheriffs

    …..237. Arkansas Broadcasting Foundation, Inc.
    238. Agape Broadcasting Foundation, Inc.
    239. Affiliated Media Foundation Movement, Inc.
    240. Allied Media Projects, Inc.
    241. ACORN National Broadcasting Network, Inc.
    242. Alabama Radio Movement, Inc. (Dissolved)
    243. ACORN Television in Action for Communities, Inc.
    244. California Community Television Network
    245. Flagstaff Broadcasting Foundation, Inc.
    246. Iowa ACORN Broadcasting Corporation
    247. Maricopa Community Television Project, Inc.
    248. Montana Radio Network, Inc.
    249. Radio New Mexico, Inc.
    250. Shreveport Community Television, Inc.
    251. Crescent City Broadcasting Corporation
    252. KABF Radio
    253. KNON Radio
    259. Association for Rights of Citizens, Inc.
    260. New York Agency for Community Affairs, Inc.
    261. Pennsylvania Institute for Community Affairs, Inc.
    265. American Environmental Justice Project, Inc.
    268. Movement for Economic Justice, Education & Training Center, Inc.
    269. Missouri Tax Justice Research Project, Inc.
    271. ACORN Canada
    272. ACORN Children’s Beneficial Association, Inc.
    273. ACORN Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage, Inc.
    274. ACORN Cultural Trust, Inc.
    275. ACORN Dual Language Community Academy
    277. ACORN Foster Parents, Inc.
    278. ACORN Institute Canada
    281. Community Training for Environmental Justice, Inc.
    282. Connecticut Working Families
    283. Democracy for America
    284. Hammurabi Fund, Inc.
    285. McLellan Multi-Family Corporation
    286. Metro Technical Institute, Inc.
    287. New Party National Committee, Inc.
    289. Volunteers for California, Inc.
    290. Volunteers for Missouri, Inc.
    292. Associated Regional Maintenance Systems
    297. Citizens Consulting, Inc.
    298. Chief Organizer Fund, Inc.
    299. Citizens Services, Inc.
    300. People’s Equipment Resource Corporation, Inc.
    301. National Center for Jobs & Justice
    302. Service Workers Action Team
    303. Living Wage Resource Center
    304. American Home Childcare Providers Association
    305. Association for the Rights of Citizens Inc
    306. California Community Network
    307. Child Care Providers for Action Franklin
    308. Citizens Action Research Project
    309. Citizens Campaign for Work, Living Wage & Labor Peace
    310. Citizens for Future Progress
    311. Citizens Campaign for Finance Reform
    312. Floridians for All PAC
    313. Greenville Community Charter School Inc
    314. Student Minimum Wage Action Campaign
    315. Site Fighters
    316. Social Policy
    317. Southern Training Center
    319. Communities Voting Together
    321. Arkansas New Party
    322. California APAC
    323. Citizens for April Troope
    324. Colorado Organizing and Support Center, Inc.
    325. Citizens Campaign for Fair Work
    326. Citizens Services Society, Inc.
    327. Clean Government APAC
    328. Community Voices Together
    329. Community Real Estate Processing, Inc.
    330. Council Beneficial Association
    331. Council Health Plan
    332. Desert Rose Homeowners’ Association
    333. District of Columbia APAC
    334. Friends of Wendy Foy
    335. Illinois APAC
    336. Illinois New Party
    337. Institute for Worker Education
    338. Jefferson Area Public Employees
    339. Jefferson Area School Employees
    340. Local 100 Health & Welfare Fund
    345. Louisiana APAC
    346. Maryland APAC
    347. Massachusetts APAC
    348. Missouri APAC
    349. Mutual Housing Association of New York Neighborhood Restore
    350. Neighbors for Arthelia Ray
    351. Neighbors for Maria Torres
    352. Neighbors for Ted Thomas
    353. New Mexico APAC
    354. New Orleans Campaign for Living Wage Committee
    355. New York APAC
    356. Oregon APAC
    357. Orleans Criminal Sheriffs Workers Organization, Inc.
    358. Pennsylvania APAC
    359. Progressive Houston
    360. Progressive St. Louis
    361. Rhode Island APAC

    • I have a reader who reports to me that there is an ACORN affiliate which is HIRING up here in TC.. I thought they had a hiring freeze??

    • canary says:

      I know an Obombie woman worked for Ameri-corp. Drawing in SS wages and medicare for foot injury. So, she goes to work, and attened full-time college and got a teaching degree, inspite of felony, which has kept her from getting hired.
      Then SS says they have cut her off, because if she can work, and attend college full time, she can’t be disabled. Well, glinch? but the checks keep coming for 9 ish years to the tune of 80,000 dollars. I do not understand what it was her young son was recieving, that she thinks tipped SS of their mistake. No sweat, she calls the Obombie legal aiders and I haven’t heard the outcome, but she’s been spending lot’s of money, but pretending to be poor still.
      I want to know how wide-spread this SS clinch is where they pay people for a decade that should not be recieving it. Oh, and there’s the wait tables for a afriend to avoid taxes. Some hurt foot huh?

  12. artboyusa says:

    The “attendant physical symptoms” wouldn’t include any dramatic loss of weight would they? These heiffers could stand to slim down…

  13. katmeredith says:

    “extreme emotional distress with attendant physical symptoms and injury to their reputations.”

    They got fired, it happens. More since Obama became President.

    “injunctions barring its further broadcast or distribution”

    It’s too late for that. We’ve all seen it. And the Net owns it now.

    “They’re doing their best not to watch television. They’ve sort of been prisoners in their own homes,”

    I think that *power buttons* still come standard on most TVs, don’t they? And I have yet to have anyone outside my home forcibly *make* me watch TV. Ridiculous.


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