Just How Heavily Edited Was the ACORN-Sting Video?

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Photo: NYPost.com

Ever since it first debuted in September — the James O'Keefe video attacking ACORN, along with the community organizing group itself — has been unraveling. ACORN finally shuttered last month, and the video was ruled by a Brooklyn judge to be heavily edited to the point of being willfully misleading, and no charges were filed against the group. So just how edited was the film, in which it appeared that ACORN employees advised O'Keefe and his "prostitute" friend on how he, as her pimp, could hide wages from the government?

Even though in portions of the video O'Keefe appears dressed as a pimp, full-length tape obtained by the California Attorney General's Office (in exchange for immunity from privacy-violation charges for O'Keefe, who taped ACORN employees without their knowledge) shows that he not only did not dress that way at the ACORN offices, he never even claimed to be a pimp. From a press release from the office of California Attorney General Edmund Brown:


Videotapes secretly recorded last summer and severely edited by O'Keefe seemed to show ACORN employees encouraging a "pimp" (O'Keefe) and his "prostitute," actually a Florida college student named Hannah Giles, in conversations involving prostitution by underage girls, human trafficking and cheating on taxes. Those videos created a media sensation.

Evidence obtained by Brown tells a somewhat different story, however, as reflected in three videotapes made at ACORN locations in California. One ACORN worker in San Diego called the cops. Another ACORN worker in San Bernardino caught on to the scheme and played along with it, claiming among other things that she had murdered her abusive husband. Her two former husbands are alive and well, the Attorney General's report noted. At the beginning and end of the Internet videos, O'Keefe was dressed as a 1970s Superfly pimp, but in his actual taped sessions with ACORN workers, he was dressed in a shirt and tie, presented himself as a law student, and said he planned to use the prostitution proceeds to run for Congress. He never claimed he was a pimp.

"The evidence illustrates," Brown said, "that things are not always as partisan zealots portray them through highly selective editing of reality. Sometimes a fuller truth is found on the cutting room floor."

Oh, the old playing-along-with-a-gag mistake. Those ACORN employees should have known that doing that would not only get them fired, but would get their entire national organization shut down. Man.

Brown Releases Report Detailing a Litany of Problems with ACORN, But No Criminality [AG.CA.gov via Gawker]