New Orleans I continue to be fascinated that James O’Keefe has any credibility with anyone anywhere in the world. The list is endless from his ACORN fake costuming and scurrilous video editing to his crazed phone tapping of Senator Mary Landrieu’s office in New Orleans and on to one preposterous self-aggrandizing ego trip after another including a puff piece in the New York Times magazine. A piece popped up on my Google Alerts though that surprised me so much, I wondered if it was a hoax, given how bizarre it is even for O’Keefe. The piece ran in Op Ed News by a Gustav Wynn. It has been previously reported by O’Keefe’s home town paper in New Jersey and by Keith Olbermann, so some serious credibility has been attached to the piece.
At the least, suffice it to say, this dude is still totally out of control!
Sex, Drugs and Videotape: James O’Keefe Implicated in Barn Rape Plot
By: Gustavo Wynn
As reported by Keith Olbermann, Raw Story and NorthJersey.com, disturbing charges were leveled against James O’Keefe, the undercover “pimp” made famous in videos that informed a Congressional vote to defund ACORN (later ruled unconstitutional).
A conservative blogger from Tampa has reportedly shared details indicating she believes she became incapacitated and had her underwear stolen while she was in O’Keefe’s company.
Her October 2nd visit concerned a proposal to be in one of O’Keefe’s anti-Occupy Wall Street videos, says accuser Nadia Naffe – O’Keefe picked her up at the Newark train station and stopped off at a liquor store before driving her to his parents house where negotiations got contentious and O’Keefe became verbally abusive.
Naffe claims she began to have trouble controlling her muscles and threatened to call the police when she felt O’Keefe was trying to coerce her to stay. As she testified in a criminal complaint, O’Keefe demonstrated an “intent to persuade me to spend the night in the barn”. O’Keefe and a pal instead drove her to Penn Station in NYC, Naffe reported, adding she lost consciousness during the ride.
After traveling on to Boston where she attends grad school at Harvard, Naffe alleged her bag had been rifled through, with panties and other items taken. She also reports O’Keefe made an unsolicited offer of money, but began harassing her shortly after she refused the cash, through direct messages and third parties.
On Nov. 17, O’Keefe posted a video smearing “tramp” Naffe as “filthy” and “dirty”, but since removed the video. That same day, Politico reported Naffe was one of several O’Keefe collaborators “in-fighting”, noting accounts she had been treated “disrespectfully”.
O’Keefe’s Project Veritas settled one complaint with a former associate in exchange for silence while threatening other ex-associates with legal action for breaching confidentiality agreements.
Naffe responded on Nov. 21 with a criminal complaint – O’Keefe was hauled into a probable cause hearing in a county court on December 21. O’Keefe did not speak during or after the hearing, and was relieved as the case was dismissed on an apparent jurisdictional technicality. But Judge Alan Karch did pro-actively advise Naffe she could pursue civil damages.
O’Keefe is currently being sued for deceptively editing a video that led to the firing of an ACORN employee in San Diego and he is also on federal probation after a misdemeanor conviction for entering a US Senator’s office under false pretenses in Louisiana. Despite this, many, including this reporter, believe O’Keefe has received some eye-popping special privileges during his previous run-ins with the law.
O’Keefe’s generous plea deal in Louisiana knocked felony charges down to fines and misdemeanors without jail time. His co-defendant in that case, Robert Flanagan, is the son of a U.S. Attorney in Shreveport.
But even more curiously, O’Keefe was bestowed criminal immunity for violating the privacy rights of San Diego sting subject Juan Carlos Vera by then Attorney General of California Jerry Brown in exchange for providing Brown’s office the full, unedited tapes of the encounter. After viewing the tapes, Brown also advised the victim to pursue a civil lawsuit against O’Keefe — which he did.
That lawsuit has been dragging on since our July 2010 report, but has notably become a cause taken up by heavyweight Republican lawyers in DC who are funded in part by Richard Mellon Scaife and the Koch brothers’ billionaire donor network.
O’Keefe’s defense is being provided “pro bono” by Center for Individual Rights, a legal institute who is also currently challenging parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1964. CIR is co-directed by Larry Arnn of Hillsdale College, a charter sponsor of the Sean Hannity radio show.
In March 2011, Christopher Hajec, one of CIR’s lawyers, told TPM that his organization is representing O’Keefe for free because O’Keefe’s case stood out as a First Amendment issue. Eric Gressler and Michael Madigan of the law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP also are helping with O’Keefe’s defense, even though their legal fees typically far exceed the $75,000 sought in the suit.
It’s strange that CIR and the battery of legal minds being bankrolled by wealthy Republican donors are investing so much in this case while ignoring the numerous First Amendment cases brought against undercover videographers who document abuse and health hazards in factory farms. Lawmakers in Iowa, Minnesota, Florida and New York have tried to criminalize undercover videotaping in farms, including by journalists.
Unlike O’Keefe and his defense team, Florida state senator Jim Norman says undercover sting videos are “unfair outside assaults” on intellectual and private property rights, incredibly, adding it is “almost like terrorism, the way they go in”. CIR lawyers seem way out of place asserting First Amendment rights in the O’Keefe case, while these important public health and animal cruelty cases languish.
This leads many to feel that O’Keefe is a ‘golden boy’, protected by wealthy conservative backers. Just as O’Keefe first came into the spotlight with the release of his ACORN “pimp” videos, the Village Voice exposed his relationship with super-rich sugar daddy Peter Thiel, contrary to O’Keefe’s claims of independence. Today, his Project Veritas discloses on tax forms that they are still in search of “major donors” to support their work.
In May 2011, we reported federal Judge Dembin rejected James O’Keefe’s assertion that his freedom of speech as an ‘undercover’ news gatherer trumps the privacy rights of California residents and the prohibition on surreptitious recordings. Though this defense seemed outrageous, it has already succeeded in wasting time and dragging out the case.
In October 2011, we reported that Judge Dembin compelled Andrew Breitbart to disclose all communications between he and O’Keefe as well as undercover ‘ho’ Hannah Giles. About the same time, SEC filings showed Breitbart had just received $10 million in funding from two undisclosed donors.
It is not clear what Nadia Naffe’s next step will be – O’Keefe did settle one earlier ACORN lawsuit out of court, but nothing he was accused of in the past approached anything like the date-rape scenario Naffe’s court filings suggest.
It’s also not clear whether O’Keefe obtained required permission from his parole officer to travel to Manhattan to transport the impaired blogger as described in the account.
If Naffe presses charges implying O’Keefe was involved in drugging her and weakening her senses in order to detain her, it could become an extremely serious matter for a federal parolee.
While it’s also possible some or all of Naffe’s story is fabricated or mistaken, O’Keefe hasn’t officially denied it yet. The site BigGovernment where both parties are listed contributors has whitewashed the sordid tale completely as if it’s not really happening.