The Trials of Nadia Naffe

By CHRIS FARAONE  |  March 4, 2013

James O'Keefe and Nadia Naffe go to ''#WAR.''


Into the Frey

With Breitbart dead, the task of discrediting Naffe fell to Frey, the Los Angeles district attorney. He’d been blogging about the “barn incident” since late February, and he wasn’t about to slow down now. In a flurry of posts and tweets, Frey questioned why Naffe didn’t call a cab to escape, and raised the possibility that “she had had too much to drink.”

On March 21, Naffe was prohibited by a judge from sharing any of O’Keefe’s emails. Since he’d logged into his Gmail account on her cell phone, O’Keefe had sought and obtained an immediate temporary injunction against Naffe releasing anything in the emails — his application for the injunction had actually alleged that “the material is so provocative that it caused Andrew Breitbart to suffer a fatal heart attack.” The injunction also prevented Naffe from sharing the emails with prosecutors in New Hampshire, who were investigating O’Keefe and Project Veritas for their election-fraud campaigns.

The request for an injunction failed to silence Naffe. She declared “#WAR” on Twitter and published her side of the story on her blog (since removed on the advice of her attorney). Her revelations included a host of spicy materials, from the Izzy Santa settlement to the 1500-word note that she’d sent to Project Veritas back in November. The letter read, in part:

James, this is not junior high. You need to grow up and be a man. Do not continue to make a fool of yourself by calling to offer me money, as you did on Oct. 24th. I was never with you for the money. I’m not looking for a payoff. Be a man and return my panties and scarf that were in the trunk of your car. Do not keep my undergarments as a trophy or souvenir to show off to your friends.

News of Naffe’s blog posts and document leaks, coupled with O’Keefe’s injunction, led to a new media blitz. (In a March 22 story headlined “James O’Keefe’s Panty-Stealing ‘Rape Barn’ Sex Scandal,” Gawker wrote of Naffe that “there’s a chance she’s a litigious paranoiac who blows minor grievances out of proportion.”) Frey also blogged about O’Keefe’s injunction, and in doing so, he did something more in keeping with the tactics of Anonymous than with big-city district attorneys. On March 24, Frey published a 2005 deposition from Naffe’s lawsuit against the GOP that included her Social Security number and other sensitive information — in essence, he doxed her. Naffe is suing Frey for this action, claiming that he improperly used his position as a DA to access the documents. “That’s when the shit hit the fan,” says Naffe. “All of the little trolls came out, and [Frey] got his little army of sock puppets to harass me on Twitter.”

O’Keefe’s injunction against releasing the emails lasted less than six months. One day last May, two subpoenas arrived in New Jersey, nearly simultaneously. One came from the prosecutors in New Hampshire who were investigating Project Veritas for possible voter fraud during the primary. The other came from Brett Kimberlin — who argued that the information was pertinent to his litigation against Allen. The judge lifted the injunction, releasing the emails to both of them.

The same week, Frey tweeted Naffe’s exact coordinates: Cambridge, Harvard Extension School. And then, once again, Frey did something peculiar: in June, he reached out to Barrett Brown, the guerrilla journalist and longtime ally of Anonymous. Whether Frey knew it or not, Brown was under investigation by the FBI. But over a series of chats, Frey asked Brown for help discrediting Naffe, Kimberlin, and their entire orbit. Frey’s argument: they were soiling the First Amendment, which Anynomous holds sacred.

By this time, Naffe was suing Frey — the same lawsuit in which she alleged he’d improperly obtained the docs listing her Social Security number — for allegedly causing damage to her reputation, as well as “emotional distress” and “bleeding ulcers suffered as a result of the stress and trauma.” Frey specifically urged Brown to collect dirt on Jay Leiderman, a California lawyer who was representing Naffe. The LA DA told Brown that Leiderman was blocking free speech and filing “lawsuits to retaliate against people for commentary on public controversies.” Brown didn’t take the bait. Instead, he waited three months, then released the transcripts of his chats with Frey, along with a video explaining how the deputy district attorney had contacted him. Eight days after posting the video, Brown was arrested on charges of threatening an FBI agent; he’s since been charged with a dozen additional counts stemming from the 2011 hacking of the private-intelligence firm Stratfor. The chat is perhaps the most extraordinary twist in this entire saga, but it wouldn’t be the last.

NEXT: From the web to the courtroom, the drama around Nadia Naffe continues . . .

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