Matthew Phelan and Liz Farkas scoop the settlement from a legal fight most people had forgotten about. One of the 2009 stings of ACORN offices by journalists James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles took place in San Diego. In the resulting tape, an ACORN employee named Juan Carlos Vera appeared to go happily along with the planning of a crime. “Question,” asked O’Keefe in the video. “Would ACORN employee Juan Carlos consult his contacts in Mexico to find a way to help us smuggle the underaged girls into the United States from Tijuana?” A casual viewer would say “uh-huh.”
Juan Carlos Vera sued O’Keefe, arguing that he was taped without consent in violation of state law. O’Keefe denied breaking the law. In March 2013, the lawsuit was settled, with O’Keefe agreeing to pay Vera $100,000. In the settlement agreement, O’Keefe states that “at the time of the publication of the video of Juan Carlos Vera he was unaware of Vera’s claim to have notified a police officer of the incident.” O’Keefe did not admit any liability, but stated that he “regrets any pain suffered by Mr. Vera or his family.”
Correction, Jan. 3, 2020: This post has been corrected to more accurately reflect the nature of Vera’s lawsuit and the settlement agreement between Vera and O’Keefe.