James O'Keefe to pay $100K over ACORN sting

The conservative prankster settles with a former ACORN employee for $100,000 and apologizes

Published March 7, 2013 10:44PM (EST)


Conservative provocateur James O'Keefe has agreed to pay $100,000 and apologize to a former ACORN employee who was fired after being portrayed in one of O'Keefe's undercover video stings.

The ACORN sting was one of O'Keefe's first and most successful operations, leading to a congressional prohibition on federal funding for ACORN that caused the group to collapse. But Juan Carlos Vera, a former employee whom O'Keefe and accomplice Hannah Giles secretly filmed in a California ACORN office, said the tape violated a state law against recording someone without their permission, so he sued the two conservative sting artists.

Giles settled this summer, but the suit against O'Keefe is still in federal court.

Now, according to documents obtained by Wonkette, Vera has agreed to drop the case against O'Keefe in exchange for $100,000 and acknowledgment from O'Keefe that the video did not include the fact that Vera had called the police during the sting. The settlement, dated Wednesday, adds that O'Keefe “regrets any pain suffered by Mr. Vera or his family.” He has 30 days to pay up.

In an email exchange with Salon, O'Keefe confirmed the settlement and said a statement was forthcoming.

It's not the first time O'Keefe has run into legal trouble. He had felony charges against him dropped in relation to a sting targeting Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu. He pleaded guilty to a lesser crime and was sentenced to three years probation.

UPDATE: In a statement on his website, O'Keefe called the lawsuit "meritless" and said he was only settling to put an end to the distraction. “There comes a time when the cost to defend yourself against meritless accusations becomes so burdensome financially and personally, it is simply too great. The settlement admits no liability and there is no benefit from extending this ridiculous lawsuit," he said.

He also said he would have more details in a forthcoming book.

By Alex Seitz-Wald

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