O'Keefe's ACORN partner distances herself

Woman who dressed as prostitute for sting videos says she's "shocked by the reports of this behavior"

By Alex Koppelman
Published January 27, 2010 6:54PM (EST)

Hannah Giles, the woman who dressed as a prostitute and partnered with James O'Keefe in his ACORN video sting, is distancing herself from him after his Monday arrest.

"I am shocked by the reports of this behavior," Giles said in a statement that the Christian conservative Liberty Legal Institute e-mailed to reporters. "I am well aware that following the law is an integral part of being a good investigative journalist. I take that responsibility and accountability very seriously. I certainly hope these reports are untrue." (As I noted earlier, at least one of the stings in which Giles participated may have actually broken a state law that requires all parties to consent to audio recording of a private conversation.)

Not all of O'Keefe's allies are distancing themselves. Andrew Breitbart, whose sites published and promoted the ACORN videos, has posted a screed attacking media coverage of the arrest. In it, he writes:

Mainstream Media, ACORN, Media Matters (all the supposed defenders of due process and journalistic ethics) are jumping to conclusions over the arrest today of James O’Keefe, with the clear intention to smear and, if possible, convict O’Keefe and his alleged co-conspirators in the court of public opinion in order to taint the "jury of their peers."

The ACORN story was a huge black eye for the organized left and their allies and cohorts in the mainstream media. So they are relishing every minute of this breaking story, making it their top story -- while they ignored the initial ACORN story until they no longer could.

I’m sure they would like to believe O’Keefe is stupid enough to try to "wiretap" a sitting U.S. senator in broad daylight during office hours, while recording the entire sequence of events on his cell phone camera. And they’d like you to believe it, too.

But there is absolutely no allegation in the criminal complaint that "wiretapping" or "bugging" is any part of this case, just the charge that O’Keefe and the others entered Sen. Landrieu’s office in New Orleans "for the purpose of interfering with the office’s telephone system."

Breitbart is, by the way, right to say that the criminal complaint contains no specific allegation that the four men were attempting to tap the phones in the office of Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. But one of them was reportedly "arrested with a listening device in a car blocks from the senator's offices." (Also, separate point, but when Breitbart goes into his argument that O'Keefe wouldn't be "stupid enough to try to 'wiretap' a sitting U.S. senator in broad daylight during office hours," well, OK, but he was allegedly stupid enough to attempt to enter that office -- federal property -- in broad daylight during office hours under false pretenses, which is itself a crime.)

Breitbart said Tuesday that he had no involvement in or knowledge of the operation. He does have an ongoing working relationship with O'Keefe, however. In an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, Breitbart said he wasn't sure it's "technically" right to call O'Keefe an employee of his Web sites, but did say "we reserve the right to say yes or no to any of the stories that he puts up on our site as we do to any other contributor who comes to the site" and that he's "paid a fair salary."

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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Acorn Andrew Breitbart James O'keefe War Room