Juan Carlos Vera was interviewed by James O'Keefe in ACORN's office in National City, near the U.S.-Mexico border, on Aug. 18, 2009, as part of a guerrilla hidden-camera sting by the young conservative activist.
The video, aired repeatedly on television, seems to show that Vera was willing to help O'Keefe smuggle underage girls into the U.S. to act as prostitutes. The footage and the resulting outrage led to ACORN disbanding, but neither Vera nor ACORN were engaged in any human trafficking, and it was found that Vera was interviewing the pair for more information before he in fact called police.
A 2010 report by the office of the California attorney general said that O'Keefe and Giles were given immunity from prosecution when they agreed to provide complete and unedited copies of videos. The report noted that among O'Keefe's deceptions was appearing in "stereotypical 1970s pimp garb" in the video despite visiting the ACORN office in a suit and tie.
Vera's lawsuit was filed on the assertion that O'Keefe broke a state law prohibiting the surreptitious recording of someone's voice and image.
Nuisance settlement: The CA anti-recording statute under which the acorn lawsuit was brought is unconstitutional.bit.ly/VPDp9u— James O'Keefe(@JamesOKeefeIII) March 8, 2013
O'Keefe issued a statement on the settlement, saying:
“Sadly, this is the cost of exposing the truth. That’s why so few people do it. There are liability issues inherent in undercover journalism. But let me be clear, this lawsuit had nothing to do with editing or misrepresentation. It was an action under the California Invasion of Privacy Act. The anti-recording statute under which the suit was brought is unconstitutional, overbroad, and gives the police and other public officials too much power."