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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
WEBCommentary Contributor
Author:  Michael J. Gaynor
Bio: Michael J. Gaynor
Date:  November 8, 2009
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Exposing ACORN Criminality Using Surreptitious Recording and Hannah Giles' Beauty and Wiles

Whether or not ACORN should be lambasted and loathed or lauded and loved should be based on the truth about ACORN, some of which was exposed in those videos, not on exposure of Ms. Giles' legs. Lambasted and loathed, it surely should be, but making the truth about ACORN known is not easy. The persons responsible for those videos obviously decided, based on the propensity of the liberal media establishment not to cover the kind of expose for which they were hoping (and Ms. Giles' legs too, of course), that using Ms. Giles' physical beauty to attract attention to the ugly ACORN reality as well as to fool ACORN employees was necessary and appropriate in the circumstances.

The New Testament teaches that an angel came to St. Joseph in a dream and told him to flee to Egypt with Jesus and Mary.

St. Joseph dutifully did as he was told, and things worked out divinely.

Who (or what) inspired Hannah Giles to play the prostitute in the sensational "Pimp and Pro" ACORN videos?

On September 14, 2009, Ms. Giles credited jogging when Sean Hannity asked her how those videos came to be made.

Ms. Giles: "Well, Sean, it's amazing what girls think about when they are jogging. And that was just something that popped into my head. I had never seen an ACORN office, I really didn't even know that they existed and I jogged into the wrong part of town, saw some homeless people and street ladies and I put two and two together when I turned around to get back into a safe neighborhood. And it's like — what if these people went into ACORN — a prostitute and what would come from that? No bills, no nothing — would they get a house? Could they start a business? So we put it to the test."

Hannity faithfully accepted that explanation of the genesis of the sting.

Ms. Giles interned and probably jogged in the Washington, D.C. this year, but ACORN's D.C. office is located in "a safe neighborhood" known for the presence of United States Marines, not "homeless people and street ladies."

Putting aside opinions on what part of town is "wrong" and which neighborhoods are "safe," ask yourself the obvious question: Does it make sense that the idea of playing a prostitute in a sting on ACORN would pop into the head of a wholesome 20-year old home-schooled minister's daughter who "didn't even know" that ACORN offices existed?

Did the Holy Spirit inspire Ms. Giles not only to dress like a prostitute and put her lovely legs on display in videos of surreptitiously recorded stings on ACORN offices that appear to have been illegally conducted in several states, but also to walk around the National Mall, dance on a boat and walk down a San Bernardino street scantily attired to provide some sexy B roll for the videos?

Ms. Giles's dad, Doug Giles, insisted it was not his idea, in an article titled "No, It Wasn’t My Idea for Hannah Giles to Dress Like a Hooker and Infiltrate ACORN" (September 19, 2009).

Mr. Giles: "Giles’ radical, ultra-conservative Christian dad put her up to it. I believe that’s how someone on one of those unwatched news shows has been bending it. Well, I can tell you as her dad that I did not. As much as me no likey the nefarious underpinnings and corrupt acts of ACORN, having my kid dress like a hooker and infiltrate such a place is not in my repertoire. That was Hannah’s baby from start to finish. I simply told her to be careful because we all know how dangerous sweet community organizers can be."

We do know that, so why did Ms. Giles do what she did (so well)?

How about combating ACORN corruption and lies with the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

New Hounds' motto is "We watch FOX so you don't have to." "Ellen," in a post titled "ACORN-Gotcha Activist Hannah Giles Admits She Had An Anti-ACORN Agenda Before She Knew Anything About Them" and dated September 15, 2009, reviewed Hannah Giles' appearance on "Hannity."

It was hit and miss for "Ellen." (A broken clock is right twice a day and a blind hog will find a nut every now and then, so ignore News Hounds at your peril.)

"Ellen": "Hannah Giles may be conservatives’ latest darling for posing as a prostitute in James O’Keefe’s 'independent' investigation into ACORN, and she’s certainly pretty to look at, but the right-wing media may want to reconsider allowing her to talk in public."

Ms. Giles is a conservative darling; she played the prostitute in the "Pimp and Pro" ACORN videos; she's "certainly pretty to look at"; putting quotation marks around "independent" is understandable in the circumstances; and Ms. Giles has done only "friendly interviews," especially since ACORN announced that it was suing her based on Maryland law outlawing willful surreptitious recording.

In a New York Post article titled 'Duo who turned this trick" and dated September 16, 2009, Lachlan Cartwright and Jeremy Olshan reported:

"After Giles proposed the ACORN video-sting idea, O'Keefe -- who started making the videos while a student at Rutgers University -- pounced on it. 'Why go after ACORN?' Giles asked. 'Because I love America, I love God, and corrupt institutions don't help that.' "After six weeks of research, Giles said they scavenged together their costumes from friends, except for the pimp coat, which was on loan from O'Keefe's grandmother.

"In total, the project cost them $1,300.

"They did the job entirely on their own and paid for it themselves, they said."

If you watch the bi-coastal videos (available at, it's hard to believe that Ms. Giles and Mr. O'Keefe "did the job entirely on their own" and for only $1,300.

The sting apparently was conducted at eight ACORN offices on both the east and west coasts in five states and the District of Columbia.

It was announced in September that the receipts would be posted at, but they have not been.

There are scenes simultaneously showing both Ms. Giles and Ms. O'Keefe that would seem to have been shot by at least one other person.

And how much did it cost to rent that boat on which Ms. Giles and Ms. O'Keefe were videotaped dancing?

"Ellen": "Giles not only appears to be a dim bulb but stunningly ignorant as well."

That's nonsense (and, in our politically correct society, doesn't "dim bulb" seem more offensive that "dumb bunny" would have been?).

Ms. Giles is 20, plenty smart and stunningly beautiful, not "dim" or "stunningly ignorant."

Incidentally, Ms. Giles was born on the Ides of March in 1989.

On the Ides of March (March 15), 44 B.C., Julius Caesar was assassinated. As a result of that assassination and the soothsayer's exchange about it with Julius Caesar, in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar tragedy, the Ides of March signifies a fateful day.

Ms. Giles' birth certainly proved fateful for ACORN.

"Ellen": "In her appearance on Hannity last night (9/14/09), Giles revealed that she hatched her plan to go after ACORN’s housing division before she knew anything about it. As usual, Fox presented a one-sided look at Giles’ work, never revealing that in her zeal to bring down ACORN, the organization she knew little about, Giles likely committed a crime. Nor was an advocate of ACORN on hand to present their side of the story, which includes a threatened lawsuit against Fox News. With video."

Ms. Giles did claim credit for the idea and did profess not to know much about ACORN before she decided to play the prostitute in the "Pimp and Pro" sting; the Fox presentation was one-sided; the possibility that the surreptitious recording had violated Maryland criminal law was not addressed (if the surreptitious recording was not "willful," it did NOT violate Maryland law); and there was no one speaking for ACORN. But with the liberal media establishment loathe to cover the story, expecting Fox to give airtime to an ACORN spokesperson when ACORN is threatening to sue Fox as well as Ms. Giles and Mr. O'Keefe is unrealistic and the criticism itself is one-sided.

"Ellen": “When asked about the 'pattern' of ACORN corruption, Giles offered this 'insight' that strongly suggested she hadn’t a clue about the organization beyond her own experience with it. 'There’s a pattern and, um,… we knew what we were going into. We’d studied ACORN. We didn’t know about them before we came up with the idea, really. And then we studied them. And we learned what they’re about so the way we approached them was, was what got it.”

Why Ellen disbelieves Ms. Giles' claim to have studied ACORN before stinging, I do not know. That disbelief itself is unbelievable.

But Hannity did not ask a single question about the studying. What did they learn, when did they learn it and from whom or what did they learn it? That information IS relevant to a proper understanding of the sting.

Ms. Giles' father, Doug Giles, subsequently wrote: "The truth of the matter, from a timeline standpoint, is that they hatched their plan in May of ’09, fine-tuned it from May 20th – July 23rd, and then launched July 24th, fully accomplishing their mission by the end of August. And that’s a fact to all those for whom facts still matter."

That timeline allows plenty of time to study ACORN and, given the videos that have been released, it appears that Ms. Giles and Mr. O'Keefe were well prepared. But how did they pick the ACORN offices to visit and decide upon the sequence.

The first ACORN office visited was ACORN's Philadelphia office. Why was it first? Was it because there had been a Pennsylvania ACORN case last year?

Why only ACORN offices on the east and west coasts?

Why not ACORN offices in New Orleans and Chicago?

It is difficult to believe Ms. Giles' statement that "We didn’t know about them before we came up with the idea, really," unless the idea was divinely inspired and that has not been claimed.

The Ms. Giles-as-dim-bulb gibe blithely ignored her journalistic credentials (but those credentials undermine Ms. Giles' claim of prior ignorance of ACORN).

Ms. Giles became a Townhall columnist in 2008 and posted two articles before Election Day 2008. One was a tribute to Ms. O'Keefe's Planned Parenthood sting, and the other which was titled "Don't be a Zombie. Question Your Leaders!" (August 26, 2008).

In the latter article, Ms. Giles wrote: "It is 2008: time once again for the great American presidential debates. Well, at least time for their intensity levels to rise, and time for every word to be scrutinized. The young voter is being targeted more than ever this election season. Have you personally researched the current issues? Or are you parroting everyone else’s talking points? Are you afraid of being challenged or bringing the challenge? The presidential elections are no joke, and every American person should want to know the character of the person they are voting for and the policies that person represents. Prominent pundits, pastors, governors, representatives and senators race around the nation promoting the Democratic or Republican candidate of their choice. All ears and eyes are open, as Americans look to their leaders to prove how they will lead."

It's not credible that an ardent conservative who wrote those words was oblivious about ACORN until April of 2009. Those who got their news only from the liberal media establishment might well have been as ignorant as Ms. Giles claimed to have been, but Ms. Giles knew better than to trust the liberal media establishment and Fox News did extensive reporting on ACORN.

"Ellen": "'What did you know about… You didn’t know much about ACORN,' Sean Hannity prompted her."

Hannity did seem to prompt Ms. Giles to claim not to know much about ACORN?

Why would he do that when his viewers surely would be interested in having him as the questions and Ms. Giles give the answers?

Ms. Giles answered: “I didn’t know much about the housing. I knew about the voter fraud.”

That seems to mean that Ms. Giles did know something about ACORN's role in the housing crisis, but more about ACORN's notorious voter registration campaigns.

"Ellen" ranted that there was no ACORN voter fraud for Ms. Giles or anyone else to know about: "I doubt that, Hannah, Hon. Because while some ACORN workers have been accused of VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD, there has been NO VOTER FRAUD. Surely even you can understand the difference...."

"Ellen" apparently does not appreciate that many of those accusations led to convictions, or that voter registration fraud paves the way for voter fraud, or that there has been prosecution for ACORN voter fraud, or that there is such a thing as unprosecuted voter fraud.

"Ellen": "Giles continued with another 'insight,' this time into the foreclosure crisis. 'When I found out that there was an ACORN housing, I was just like, "My goodness. This is why we’re in the foreclosure crisis and the mortgage crisis and let’s study." There’s obviously bad things going on in these houses.'"

I wrote about that in "Blame Obama’s ACORN for the Financial Crisis" (September 29, 2008). There was plenty of other coverage available too.


"Neither Sean Hannity nor guest Andrew Breitbart questioned Giles’ questionable conclusion. In fact, they continued to praise Giles’ journalistic 'skills.'

“'Where is the investigative journalism?' Hannity asked. “It takes a 20 year-old girl, Hannah here, …to do this… Where’s the media?'"

The liberal media establishment was promoting Obama, not scrutinizing him and his ACORN connections.

Also, it's illegal for the media to surreptitiously record in states that prohibit surreptitious recording.

Hannity could learn more about that by talking to John Stoessel, who recently joined Fox News and was nearly prosecuted in 1996 for surreptitious recording in Maryland.

Baltimore Sun critic David Zurawik, "ACORN precedent: John Stossel once charged in Baltimore secret taping case" (September 12, 2009):

"Amid all the conflicting reports on cable TV and the Internet as to whether or not the filmmakers who secretly taped two ACORN employees in Baltimore violated any law, let me add one historical fact that might bring a bit of clarity and context to the discussion.

"The Baltimore State's Attorney's office has brought felony charges in the past for what was alleged to be essentially the same act as that committed by James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles, the two who did the secret taping at ACORN.

"And one of the five persons whom the state's attorney's office charged in the past was John Stossel, the TV news journalist who this week made headlines for another reason by leaving ABC News to join the Fox News Channel.

"I know this because I was one of two journalists who was believed to have heard Stossel allegedly admit that ABC News had violated the secret taping statute and was subpoened to testify at the trial. The case was reported in the 'New York Times.'

"Throughout this short holiday week, I was locked into other print stories for the paper on tight deadlines, so I hadn't been able to focus on the ACORN hidden camera story. But when I finally got a chance to dig into this one late Friday, I have to admit that I was surprised that the Stossel case had not come to light during the last three days of online heat as the videotape shot by O'Keefe and Giles played on the Fox News Channel and across the Internet.

"The two had posed as a pimp and prostitute seeking advice from ACORN employees in Baltimore on how to dodge tax and other laws. Their hidden-camera video tape shows that encounter with the two employees who do not appear to know they are being taped....

"The Stossel case happened in 1996, when, according to the charges filed, an ABC News producer, Deborah Stone, who worked with Stossel visited a Baltimore medical doctor posing as a patient who might be suffering from 'multiple chemical sensitivity,' one of the specialties of the medical provider, Dr. Grace Ziem. Stone was accompanied by her sister-in-law, who also posed as a patient.

"According to the 'Times' account of the charges,...Dr. Ziem 'suspected they were "fake patients," but 'was not aware that she was being recorded' at the time.

"(I am using the 'Times' account, because once I was subpoened, I was no longer reporting the story and was advised to talk only to the attorney whom the 'Sun' provided....

"According to the 'Times,' Dr. Ziem was subsequently approached by Stossel about being interviewed for a show about 'debates in medicine.' She agreed, but became suspicious after 'being tipped off by a colleague that Mr. Stossel has said he was doing a special on "junk science"...'

"Dr. Ziem agreed Stossel in a Baltimore hotel, but instead of a willing interview subject, what Stossel and his crew found was an assistant of Dr. Ziem's and two reporters he had contacted to witness what Stossel was up to. It was intended to be a reverse sting, if you will. The other reporter was Fern Shen, then of the 'Washington Post.'

"Long story short, the case hung on what Stossel and his producer are alleged to have said to me and Shen when he and his producer came out of the hotel room after he realized what Dr. Ziem's assistant was doing.

"Here is how the 'Times' reported it: 'Mr. Stossel... and Ms. Stone spoke outside the room with two reporters. It was in this conversation, Dr. Ziem charged, that Mr. Stossel and Ms. Stone said they had recorded Dr. Ziem's consultation with the two women.'

"I do not know anything about the dealings Shen and 'Post' had with the State's Attorney's office, but I was advised that the conversation outside that room with Stone and Stossel was protected under Shield Law, a crucial and hard-won journalistic protection absolutely essential if the press is going to be free to operate without government control. You don't waive that lightly. As a result, my attorney and I both advised the State's Attorney's office that I would not be testifying about that conversation despite the subpoena.

"As you can see from this post, I so value the principle behind Shield Laws that I still feel the conversation with Stone and Stossel should be protected -- almost 13 years later.

"A preliminary hearing and a trial date were set in the case, but it was dropped before coming to trial."

Perhaps Fox News would have be benefited from Stossel's expertise if he had been added to the Fox News stable earlier.

"Ellen": "After B-roll footage of African American ACORN workers looking frenzied, Giles offered some more of her special brand of perspicacity. 'I’d like to see (ACORN) completely defunded. Um, I’d like to see all future funds, you know, cut and um, it’s absurd. There’s no way we need to be paying for this kind of activity. It just shows how deeply corrupt they are.'"

Ms. Giles is right about that, although Ellen won't admit it, and a 20-year old appearing on Fox News should be forgiven a touch of nervousness.

"Ellen": "'Fair and balanced' Fox never put the situation into context, i.e. they never offered the percentage of 'bad acorns' caught relative to the total number of employees. Breitbart said seven employees had been caught on video. With more than 400,000 member families, ACORN has got to have at least hundreds of employees. 'Journalist' Giles also never bothered to reveal how many ACORN offices she went to with her entrapment scheme before she found her victims. In fact, 'journalist' Giles evaded the question when asked about that on another show."

Subsequent events may have helped Ellen appreciate the wisdom of the video rollout strategy and, while lying is wrong, not answering a question prematurely is wise.


"Breitbart gushed about Giles and her partner-in-entrapment O’Keefe, 'I have never been more proud of two people in my entire life.'

“'I agree with you,' Hannity said."

Risking multiple felony prosecutions for surreptitious recording in several states surely can be respected as noble self-sacrifice and the sensational sting should be cause for celebration across America, but the whole truth should be told and due credit and/or blame given.

John Milton on truth:

"Though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play upon the earth, so truth be in the field, we do injuriously by licensing and prohibiting to misdoubt her strength. Let her and falsehood grapple; who ever knew truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter? Her confuting is the best and surest suppressing."

"For who knows not that truth is strong, next to the Almighty; she needs no politics, nor stratagems, nor licensings to make her victorious; those are the shifts and the defenses that error uses against her power: give her but room, and do not bind her when she sleeps."

"The very essence of truth is plainness and brightness; the darkness and crookedness is our own. The wisdom of God created understanding, fit and proportionable to truth, the object and end of it, as the eye to the thing visible."

Whether or not ACORN should be lambasted and loathed or lauded and loved should be based on the truth about ACORN, some of which was exposed in those videos, not on exposure of Ms. Giles' legs. Lambasted and loathed, it surely should be, but making the truth about ACORN known is not easy. The persons responsible for those videos obviously decided, based on the propensity of the liberal media establishment not to cover the kind of expose for which they were hoping (and Ms. Giles' legs too, of course), that using Ms. Giles' physical beauty to attract attention to the ugly ACORN reality as well as to fool ACORN employees was necessary and appropriate in the circumstances.

Michael J. Gaynor

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Biography - Michael J. Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.

Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.

The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.

Gaynor currently contributes regularly to,,, and and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.

Gaynor's email address is

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