The filmmaker behind the ACORN tapes says he doesn’t know if he broke Maryland law when he filmed workers at the group’s Baltimore office.
Fox’s Chris Wallace named James O’Keefe the “Power Player of the Week” for the videos he made of himself and a female companion pretending to be a pimp and a prostitute, soliciting advice from ACORN workers on how to cover up the importation of underage prostitutes from Latin America.
But when Wallace asked O’Keefe, in a taped segment on Fox News Sunday, whether O’Keefe had broken the law by filming the incident, the filmmaker responded: “Um, I don’t know. If you want to equate the concealment of the prostitution of children with videotaping someone without their consent, that’s your moral prerogative.”
It should be noted the hidden-cam video involved only false claims of prostitution and child smuggling. Under Maryland law, all parties involved in a private conversation must consent to be recorded, under criminal penalty.
Maryland’s state’s attorney is reportedly considering bringing charges against O’Keefe for his role in the video.
But some news reports suggest ACORN may not have a case. Writing at Newsmax.com, James Hirsen says the grassroots activist group may come to “regret” filing a lawsuit against O’Keefe over the Maryland taping.
Hirsen says the Maryland law applies only to “private” communications, and the discussion between O’Keefe and ACORN employees may not fit that definition. He also says the case would likely be transferred to a federal court because the defendants and plaintiffs are from different states, and in this case that federal court would be the “conservative” Fourth Circuit.
Additionally, Hirsen mentions that the case brings up First Amendment issues, because there are “media defendants” in the case. So “what you have in scholarly law professorial terms is called . . . a loser,” he writes.
Fox’s Wallace said O’Keefe describes himself as a “progressive” who developed a “special outrage” against progressive movements because of what he perceived as their hypocrisy and excessive political correctness.
This video is from Fox’s Fox News Sunday, broadcast Sept. 27, 2009.