Brown issues report critical of ACORN activities

Chris Rizo Apr. 1, 2010, 5:28pm

Jerry Brown (D)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-The community activist group ACORN has engaged in "highly inappropriate behavior," but committed no violation of criminal laws, an investigation by the California attorney general has found.

In a statement Thursday, state Attorney General Jerry Brown, a Democrat, said the community organizing group has likely committed violations of California law over its dumping of 500 pages of confidential records into a trash bin, in addition to four instances of possible voter registration fraud.

The possible violations occurred in San Diego, and have been forwarded to local authorities, the statement said.

"A few ACORN members exhibited terrible judgment and highly inappropriate behavior in videotapes obtained in the investigation," Brown said. "But they didn't commit prosecutable crimes in California."

Last September, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger asked Brown to investigate ACORN's activities in California, following the release of tapes made by an undercover videographer that purported to show ACORN employees providing advice on how to conduct a prostitution ring and commit other serious crimes.

Brown said the released videotapes made last summer by videographer James O'Keefe II were "severely edited" by O'Keefe seemed to show ACORN employees encouraging a O'Keefe posing as a pimp and his "prostitute," actually a Florida college student named Hannah Miles, in conversations involving prostitution by underage girls, human trafficking and cheating on taxes.

Brown's statement noted that at the beginning and end of the Internet videos, O'Keefe was dressed as a 1970s-era pimp, but in his actual taped sessions with ACORN workers, he was dressed in a shirt and tie and presented himself as a law student. He said he planned to use the prostitution proceeds to run for Congress, never claiming he was a pimp.

"The evidence illustrates," Brown said, "that things are not always as partisan zealots portray them through highly selective editing of reality. Sometimes a fuller truth is found on the cutting room floor."

In New Orleans, O'Keefe faces a maximum sentence of six months in prison and a fine of $5,000 on reduced federal charges related to misrepresentation in gaining access to the Louisiana office telephones of U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, a Democrat.

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