James O’Keefe And Hannah Giles are being tried for violations of California’s privacy laws. The plaintiff, ACORN employee Juan Carlos Vera, contends that O’Keefe and Giles unlawfully recorded conversations with him that were later edited to misrepresent his remarks.
O’Keefe and Giles filed separate motions to dismiss the case and the court ruled against (pdf) both of them.
O’Keefe claimed that, the California law not withstanding, he had a First Amendment right to surreptitiously record and publish private conversations with anyone he felt like. The court disagreed saying that the law prohibiting recordings to which both parties have not agreed, and for which there was a reasonable expectation of privacy, did not have an exception for the media. The court cited precedent that said:
“…the state may not intrude into the proper sphere of the news media to dictate what they should publish and broadcast, but neither may the media play tyrant to the people by unlawfully spying on them in the name of newsgathering.”
Giles motion contended that she was not liable because O’Keefe was the one doing the recording. This laughable defense misunderstood the law to argue that only the person holding the recording device was liable. But it also demonstrated the shallowness of her loyalty as she quickly heaped all the blame on her partner to save her own skin.
Having ruled against both motions, the pair will go to trial for their offenses. If justice is served this won’t be the only time, and they won’t be the only ones. Ya hear that Andrew Breitbart?