Today U.S. District Judge M. James Lorenz denied both James O’Keefe’s and Hannah Giles’s motions to dismiss former ACORN employee Juan Carlos Vera’s suit against them at the pleadings stage. The lawsuit by Vera, who is featured in a video by O’Keefe filmed in San Diego’s ACORN office, is based solely on the alleged violation of a California statute banning the recording of a person’s “confidential communications” without consent.
O’Keefe had moved to dismiss the case on the ground that the California statute bans citizens from exercising their First Amendment right to record public officals performing their duties in public settings, such as roadside traffic stops. In his opinion, Judge Lorenz did not rule that such recording is not a First Amendment-protected right. Rather, he seemed to suggest that such recording by citizens actually is seldom or never banned under California’s anti-recording law. By making this motion, O’Keefe has preserved the issue of the statute’s unconstitutional overbreadth for appeal.
CIR’s defense of O’Keefe in this lawsuit now enters the discovery phase.