It looks like the leftist partisans who violated Joe the Plumber’s privacy, rifled through Linda Tripp’s confidential records, and spent weeks literally navel-gazing at Bristol Palin’s real and imagined pregnancies have hit a new low: leaking an underage pornographic video to smear Carrie Prejean.
By now, the media have ensured millions of people who never learned the names of Van Jones, Valerie Jarrett, or Anita Dunn have heard that the former Miss California once made a solo sex tape — or, as the seasoned gatekeepers of reliable journalism often report it, simply a “sex tape.” Prejean told Sean Hannity this week that she made the video for an old boyfriend; other news outlets have reported she filmed herself five years ago, when she was 17. If accurate, that makes the tape child pornography under California law.
The video came to light after the Miss California pageant’s lawyers showed some of the tape in court, causing Prejean to drop her lawsuit against the contest in “about fifteen seconds.” But the court attendees — including Prejean’s mother — were not the first to see the film since the break-up. The celebrity gossip website TMZ has announced it “obtained the video months ago.” Which raises the question: how and from whom was the film”obtained”? In this case, it seems prudent to ask the Latin question, Cui bono — who benefits? The beauty contest’s lawyers, who took Prejean’s crown under questionable circumstances, were locked in a bitter legal battle with a sympathetic defendant. Did pageant officials leak child pornography to the media in an effort to destroy a legal adversary?
Prejean sued the pageant in late August. If the lawyers sent a copy of the allegedly illegal tape to TMZ in September, that would qualify as “months ago.”
E! News added another wrinkle last week, noting that unnamed “peddlers” offered the video as an “exclusive” months ago for $10,000 — and even pornographic websites would not touch it. Nik Richie of TheDirty.com told E, “our lawyers wouldn’t let us put it on the site.”
If any cash changed hands in any of the various transactions leading from the boyfriend to the barristers, that would constitute trafficking in child pornography.
Even playing those fleeting seconds of the tape in court may grounds for prosecution. Douglas A. Berman, professor of law at The Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law, has concluded:
[W]ere Prejean to convince federal officials to seek to prosecute some of the folks who have viewed and distributed her “child porn” sex tape, she might be able to seek significant restitution as the victim of these child porn offenses.
The distribution chain begins with the boyfriend — but if he is like most teenage boys, he probably passed off duplicated copies to his 20 closest friends within an hour, a pointed lesson for teens about the perils of sexting. Any of its recipient may have approached the Miss California USA pageant or these websites — or the pageant may have subsequently contacted the websites.
The question remains: Did someone sink to the most revolting of crimes to smear a Christian advocate of traditional marriage? Doing so would be entirely consistent with the Left’s philosophy — both of sexual libertinism and of personal destruction.
If Carrie was indeed 17 at the time, all parties should be investigated and, if grounds exist, prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.