Monday, January 22, 2018

'Gotcha' undercover video interviews get legal thumbs-up



A California Superior Court, pointing to “an established body” of law supporting the practice of using undercover video for news gathering, has thrown out a claim by a woman who was caught in such an interview.

Kimberly Koerber sued James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas over recordings of Koerber making comments such as “damn the Second Amendment” and “the dead white guys did not create this country.”

An executive in the school textbook industry, she was captured on video pushing an elitist, progressive agenda of global warming hype, gun control and other far-left issues.

Koerber, a former manager for Pearson, the nation’s leading textbook publishing company, was with National Geographic when the interview was released two years ago.

She was interviewed as part of a series of reports on the controversial federal education-standards program Common Core.

“People that are not educated, Fox TV viewers, think that Common Core comes from the educated liberal groups, and that’s why they are against it,” Koerber was recorded saying. “They don’t know anything about it. They think it’s liberal so they’re against it. That’s what I think it is. It’s a knee-jerk reaction. My mother, oh my God, she’s a Fox person. If I could remove Fox from my television set, I would.”

Additional statements by Koerber:

  • On the Constitution: “It is being covered, but not the way they … cause they’re idiots and they don’t know what’s in it.”
  • On climate change: “They are people that don’t really know what they are talking about. I … I can’t stand it. If they talk to me one more time about … climate change not being real, I’m just gonna scream.”
  • On Christianity in Common Core: “Yes it is [out]. Totally. It’s not a core concept at all.”
  • On critics: “They don’t agree with Islam, so they don’t want their kids to be taught it. They don’t agree with birth control so they don’t want their kids to talk about it. They don’t agree with math because they don’t understand it. It’s not the same math they did in high school. So they don’t want their kids to know about it.”

In her suit against Project Veritas, she cited dozens of complaints.

See the video:

However, the court dismissed the case entirely, pointing out that it was filed beyond the statute of limitations. But the court went even further, knocking down the individual claims and, in dismissing the complaint, said it could not be refiled.

Project Veritas noted Monday the judge said that California courts have recognized that surreptitious recording for newsgathering is “conduct in the furtherance of the exercise’ of free speech,”

“The judge found that there was no ‘invasion of privacy,’ and there was nothing ‘confidential’ or criminal about surreptitiously recording the conversation between Koerber and the undercover journalists, which took place on a Starbucks patio with other people visible in the video,” Project Veritas said.

The ruling could have an influence on a case before the U.S. Supreme Court against the Center for Medical Progress, CMP, which videoed National Abortion Federation members at a meeting.

More than a dozen other videos by CMP exposed the abortion industry’s sale of the body parts of unborn children.

Koerber complained that Project Veritas published false information about her, but the court noted the video captured Koerber in her own words.

“This lawsuit was frivolous from the beginning,” said Project Veritas First Amendment attorney Ben Barr. “It featured one angry subject of a report who alleged eleven counts of malfeasance by Project Veritas, ranging from negligence to trespass. After review, the judge agreed not a single count was grounded in reality.”

“Like many other copycat lawsuits filed against Project Veritas, wild claims of recording ‘confidential’ and ‘private’ discussions simply were not true,” stated Project Veritas founder and President James O’Keefe. “This holding vindicates just how careful Project Veritas is in complying with the law when performing undercover investigations.”

Among her complaints were infliction of mental distress, a business code violation, invasion of privacy, public exposure of private facts, false light and negligence.

“The court finds that the entirety of the action is barred by the statute of limitations. In addition, the court finds that plaintiff has failed to show, through admissible evidence, reasonable likelihood of prevailing on the merits of the cauess of action as well,” the court said.

She declined to provide evidence that she was presented in a “false light” or that there was any profit for Project Veritas.

O’Keefe’s most recent project takes on the bias in social media.

He caught a former software engineer for Twitter admitting the social media giant cancels the accounts of users on the instructions of the Chinese government “a lot.”

It was the fourth investigative video in a series released over the last two weeks by O’Keefe. Earlier videos revealed Twitter’s desire to bring down President Trump and its practice of ogling explicit images and messages that users presume are private.

In the latest video, Project Veritas found a former software engineer admitting that Twitter is pressured by foreign governments – notably China – to censor messages and ban certain users.

An undercover journalist asks former employee Conrado Mirando if foreign governments pressure Twitter to ban certain people in their countries.

Miranda initially tells the PV journalist that he “cannot disclose that information.”

At another meeting, however, he opened up.

“Normally, does Twitter, like, say if someone from Iran calls and is, like, hey in our country we need these people banned so that they cannot be seen?”

He responds: “Yeah that happens. We do that a lot for China.”

He explains: “We are actually under constant attack from the Chinese. Like, both Chinese hackers, like ‘good guys’ and from Chinese government. Because sometimes they ask us to take down an account, and we don’t take down, because, we’re, like, at the end of all it, like, anybody say. … And then the Chinese government, like, starts to try and hack us, and sometimes they point someone, or like yeah, we actually violated blah, blah, blah, and then the good guys from China start attacking us. It’s a mess.”

The video: