Conservative provocateur James O'Keefe agreed on Thursday to shell out $100,000 to former ACORN employee Juan Carlos Vera to settle a longstanding lawsuit. Wonkette first reported the development, citing court documents.
Vera was an employee of the activist group Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now in 2009 when O'Keefe and accomplice Hanna Giles traveled to his San Diego office -- dressed in pimp and prostitute attire -- to film a segment for their sting investigation, which used heavily edited footage to allege the group supported prostitution and tax-evasion. After the video's release, Vera was fired for "unacceptable conduct" over footage that appeared to show him advising the duo on how to set up a supposed child prostitution ring. It was later reported that Vera had contacted authorities and described the details of the encounter.
In 2010, Vera filed a lawsuit against O'Keefe and Giles, alleging that they had breached his privacy by recording him without his consent. O'Keefe attempted to fight the lawsuit. But two years later, a federal judge refused to throw out the suit.
Instead of facing trial, O'Keefe has opted to pay a settlement to Vargas. According to the documents obtained by Wonkette, O'Keefe also has agreed to say "that at the time of the publication of the video of Juan Carlos Vera, [O'Keefe] was unaware of Vera's claims to have notified a police officer of the incident." O'Keefe also "regrets any pain suffered by Mr. Vera or his family."
While O'Keefe's ACORN investigation and subsequent sting operations have received widespread criticism for tape-doctoring and inaccuracy, the damage to ACORN in the wake of the 2009 video has proven irreversible. Shortly after the release of the video, Congress voted to strip ACORN of federal funding, leading to its bankruptcy.
ACORN is no longer in operation, but that didn't stop House Republicans from including a measure in a recent spending bill seeking to ban the defunct organization from receiving federal funding.