"Wayne County Circuit Judge Brian Sullivan issued the order Friday that blocks Project Veritas and a woman said to be working with the group, Marisa Jorge, from disclosing videos or other information gathered during an undercover operation carried out against the American Federation of Teachers office in Detroit. "
This may be precedent-setting. Let's see what happens with the First Amendment, wire and mail fraud.
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials
Teachers union gets restraining order against O'Keefe video venture
By JOSH GERSTEIN, Politico, 09/29/2017
Wayne County Circuit Judge Brian Sullivan issued the order Friday that blocks Project Veritas and a woman said to be working with the group, Marisa Jorge, from disclosing videos or other information gathered during an undercover operation carried out against the American Federation of Teachers office in Detroit.
AFT alleges that Jorge, using the name Marissa Perez, obtained an internship at AFT beginning in May of this year and that during the internship she often acted suspiciously.
Jorge “showed an interest in charter schools and in instances of educators who had supposedly engaged in ‘sexting'’ with students; there were no such instances,” the court complaint says. “Over the next three months Defendant engaged Plaintiff’s staff and regularly sought information which was beyond her assignment. … Defendant Jorge appeared at Plaintiff’s worksite wearing adornments which are capable of hiding a camera or recording device. She wore large pearls, large glasses and clothing with buttons capable of hiding a camera.”
AFT says that Jorge is actually a Liberty University graduate but that she posed as a University of Michigan student when seeking the internship. The union alleges that earlier this year Jorge tried to infiltrate DisruptJ20, a group opposed to President Donald Trump’s inauguration, but that she was identified and driven out.
Several of Jorge’s social media pages appear to have been abruptly taken down in recent days.
The restraining order issued Friday is unusual. It was granted at a hearing where Project Veritas’ attorneys were not present. The judge set another hearing for Oct. 10 to decide whether the order should be continued.
A spokesman for Project Veritas, Stephen Gordon, dismissed the significance of the lawsuit.
“James O’Keefe and Project Veritas have not been served with any court action in Michigan and we do not comment on investigations, real or imagined,” Gordon said via email. “Project Veritas has focused this year on investigating the mainstream media. I expect Politico to be as anxious to report on our findings in our upcoming investigative release aimed right at the heart of the establishment media complex as they are to bashing Project Veritas based on over-hyped press releases that don’t amount to anything of consequence.”
AFT President Randi Weingarten praised the judge’s order.
“James O’Keefe and his operatives will stop at nothing to smear their ideological opponents — deception, distortion and dirty tactics — all to advance a political agenda that undermines public school students, teachers and families,” she said in a statement. “We are grateful that the Michigan court has protected — at least for now — students, teachers and families in Michigan.”
O’Keefe has carried out a series of high-profile video operations against organizations like Planned Parenthood and ACORN, as well as news outlets, including NPR and CNN.
In 2010, O’Keefe was arrested for posing as a telephone repairman in order to gain access to an office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.). He eventually pleaded guilty to a federal misdemeanor, was fined $1,500 and was sentenced to probation.
The new suit seeks at least $50,000 in actual damages and $3 million in punitive damages.
O’Keefe and Project Veritas are already facing a $1 million lawsuit brought by liberal activists who say they were targeted by an O’Keefe-directed operation aimed at making them appear to be instigating violence at Trump presidential campaign rallies and events.
Josh Gerstein is a senior reporter for POLITICO.
AFT Michigan Files Civil Complaint Against James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas, Alleging Illegal Surveillance
AFT Media Affairs
AFT Michigan on Thursday filed a civil complaint against Project Veritasand its operative Marisa Jorge for their fraudulent, unauthorized and unlawful surveillance of AFT Michigan staff, leaders and associates, and for gathering information from them. In response to the complaint, Judge Brian Sullivan of Michigan’s Third Judicial Circuit Court issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting Jorge, her agents and anyone acting in concert with her from releasing private and confidential information gathered from any unlawful surveillance.
It is believed to be the first time Project Veritas, founded by conservative activist James O’Keefe, has been subject to such an order in its near decade-long existence.
Jorge used fraud and deception under the alias "Marissa Perez" to secure an internship with AFT Michigan, ostensibly to obtain material Project Veritas could use in one of its infamously misleading hit videos, according to the complaint. Jorge falsely claimed to be a student at the University of Michigan interested in becoming a teacher when, in fact, she is a recent graduate of Liberty University and appears to be working for Project Veritas. The restraining order is against Jorge as well as “her agents, employees and those acting in concert,” which would include Project Veritas, also named in the complaint.
Project Veritas is funded by a constellation of conservative backers and has frequently targeted teachers unions. Indeed, O’Keefe recently vowed to use his puerile tactics in defense of embattled Education Secretary Betsy DeVos who, coincidentally, is from Michigan where this criminal infiltration occurred. Project Veritas has in the past received funding from the Trump Foundation.
O’Keefe has demonstrated his willingness to ignore both legal and ethical standards. Long before the Russian government propagated fake news and deceptive tactics to sway the 2016 presidential election, O’Keefe was assuming false identities and doctoring videos in his attempts to smear his ideological opponents.
AFT President Randi Weingarten says, “James O'Keefe and his operatives will stop at nothing to smear their ideological opponents—deception, distortion and dirty tactics—all to advance a political agenda that undermines public school students, teachers and families.
“When the rights of students are curtailed by our own secretary of education who has spent decades attacking, rather than supporting, public education, it is more important than ever to fight for the truth and for the promise of public education. We are grateful that the Michigan court has protected—at least for now—students, teachers and families in Michigan.”
View AFT Michigan’s complaint
View the temporary restraining order against Project Veritas and Marisa Jorge
The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.