Politics
Conservative filmmaker James O Conservative filmmaker James O'Keefe (Photo provided by Project Veritas)  

James O’Keefe files libel lawsuit against Keith Olbermann, David Shuster, Al Gore’s Current TV

Photo of Matthew Boyle
Matthew Boyle
Investigative Reporter

Conservative videographer James O’Keefe has filed a lawsuit against Al Gore’s Current TV and anchors Keith Olbermann and David Shuster, alleging they libeled him.

“Well I welcome criticism and misguided hatred, but if you knowingly lie and call me a ‘felon’ or a ‘rapist’ or any other slanderous or libelous [attack], I will sue you,” O’Keefe told The Daily Caller.

During the Feb. 24 edition of Olbermann’s show “Countdown,” Shuster called O’Keefe a “convicted felon,” something that is not true. Shuster also said that there was a “rape allegation facing” O’Keefe, something that also isn’t true. That claim, according to O’Keefe’s lawsuit, was related to allegations political activist Nadia Naffe made against him last year. The transcript of Naffe’s court deposition attached to O’Keefe’s lawsuit, however, proves he was never alleged to have raped her. It also shows that a judge dismissed Naffe’s allegations that O’Keefe harassed her.

In the lawsuit, O’Keefe points out that Olbermann actually got the story about him with Naffe correct beforehand. “Nevertheless, Olbermann and Current Media encouraged, permitted and endorsed the contrary statements made by Shuster,” O’Keefe’s lawsuit reads.

Olbermann also falsely referred to O’Keefe as a “convicted felon” in his Dec. 22, 2011 broadcast. He said O’Keefe was on “federal parole after he was charged with felony for attempting to maliciously interfere with Senator [Mary] Landrieu’s office telephone system in New Orleans.”

O’Keefe was never charged with or convicted of a felony in connection with that apparent sting video attempt in Landrieu’s office.

“This is not a bluff,” O’Keefe told TheDC of the lawsuit. “I will proceed with full discovery of Al Gore’s emails pertaining to me and my situation, Keith Olbermann’s emails pertaining to me and my situation and any other information that proves malice. Because I’m a public figure, I have to prove malice. I’m not just filing a document, I want to prove this and prove that they were malicious in a court of law.”

To win a libel case, O’Keefe has to prove the information was false, that the defendants knew it was false or had a reckless disregard for the truth — meaning they didn’t check their facts — and that they did so with the intention of ruining his reputation.

O’Keefe said young citizen journalists who want to work for his Project Veritas organization are afraid to because they worry people like Olbermann, Shuster and Gore will destroy their reputations.

“The greatest injustice is I have citizens coming to me and they’re afraid to do reporting on government malfeasance because they don’t want to be called racists and criminals and things other slanderous, libelous nonsense,” O’Keefe told TheDC.

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