ACORN sues undercover filmmakers

Sept. 23, 2009 at 7:48 PM
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BALTIMORE, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- ACORN is suing filmmakers who taped staff in Baltimore giving advice to people posing as a pimp and prostitute, the community organizing group said Wednesday.

The national headquarters for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now issued a release announcing it is seeking an injunction against further distribution of the video as well as compensatory and punitive damages, The Baltimore Sun reported. Sun reporters checked Maryland court filings but could not confirm the suit.

ACORN's release accuses filmmakers James O'Keefe, 25, and Hannah Giles, 20, and the film's distributor,, of violating a Maryland law prohibiting audio recording without the consent of the subject. On the video, two ACORN employees, Shera Williams and Tonia Thompson, are seen advising O'Keefe and Giles -- who are disguised as a pimp and a prostitute -- how to maximize tax credits while setting up a brothel with underage sex workers from South America.

Williams and Thompson were fired when the tape became public.

Similar recordings from four other cities were released. Since then, the U.S. Census Bureau, federal lawmakers and the Internal Revenue Service cut their ties with ACORN.

The recordings were "clear violations of Maryland law that were intended to inflict maximum damage to the reputation of ACORN," Arthur Schwartz, an attorney for ACORN, said.

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