***Language/Content Warning*** James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas has released a new undercover video of a union lawyer describing how his former client, a New York City junior high teacher who admittedly forced students to perform oral sex at knifepoint 20 years ago, never was brought to justice.
The video, a continuation of Project Veritas’s (PV) series on teachers’ unions, shows Mitchell Rubinstein, New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) senior counsel, speaking to a PV undercover journalist at a union party in December of 2015. In the video, Rubinstein casually discusses a case he investigated more than 20 years ago of a “junior high school teacher” who allegedly “was forcing the kids to give him a blowjob with a knife.” Shockingly, Rubinstein explains how the teacher, after admitting “he had a problem,” was allowed to resign and never faced charges.
Excerpts follow from the video’s script.
The Project Veritas journalist began the conversation by asking New York State United Teachers senior counsel Mitchell Rubinstein if he defends teachers “who, like, have sex with the kids and things like that”:
Mitchell Rubinstein (MR): Basically yeah.
Later in the conversation, the PV journalist asked Rubinstein to tell her about the worst case of abuse he ever defended:
PV Journalist (PV): Really? What’s the craziest one? What’s the craziest one where the craziest scumbag teacher who you drive by the school and you’re like, ew, there’s a pedophile teaching there, there’s a druggie teaching there?
MR: Well, I had a client, and it was alleged that he invited students up to his house.
MR: And he was like giving them blow jobs…
PV: “So he was putting a knife to the kids head to give the kids blow jobs?
MR: To the kids, to give him a blow job.
PV: Eww, so he was forcing the kids to give him a blowjob with a knife.
MR: Right, Right. That’s what the charges were.
Rubinstein then goes on to explain how he knew the teacher, identified only as “Mike,” was guilty, and “Mike” ultimately avoided prosecution by resigning even though he seemingly admitted to Rubinstein that the students’ accusations were true:
MR: It is so bad. And there were several allegations like that, and so it was the kids word against the teacher’s word. And I had the teacher take a lie detector test, ok. He passed the lie detector test. This is why I don’t believe in lie detector tests. Ok, and I said to him Mike, how did you pass the lie detector test?
PV: What was his name?
MR: His name was Mike, Ok I don’t even remember his last name ok, but I was like “how did you pass the lie detector test?” And he said every time that that they asked me did I force to have sex with the kid, it wasn’t forceful, it was voluntary. So he in his mind believed that it was ok, because it was voluntary, but it really wasn’t voluntary. Ok. I mean they were alleging….But that’s how he passed the lie detector test, because he kept on saying no, ’cause they were asking him did you force to have sex with a kid, and the answer was no, and that was in his mind technically true, but legally when you’re that young you can’t have that.
MR: And he’s in complete denial, and remember, he passes his lie detector test, and I go to him, “Dude, you’re going to go to jail if this goes bad because this is like forced sex with like a minor. This is like as bad as it gets.” So then, he didn’t know this, but they subpoenaed his phone records, and believe it or not, and don’t ask me how this is, but the kid, who was a high school kid, called his girlfriend from Mike’s house. So on Mike’s phone number, had the girlfriend’s phone number. And I says, Mike, now how do they have the girl’s phone umber you know on on on your house. And at that time, he broke down, he admitted he had a problem, and he resigned, thank God.
PV: He admitted he had a problem as in he forced…
MR: He admitted to me, he admitted to me. So I advised him you know with all of this circumstantial evidence that they could identify the house, the name of his parrot, and his phone number.
PV: But you didn’t tell them that you know…
MR: No I can’t, it’s like attorney client. I can’t tell them what I know.
PV: But does he still teach?
MR: No, he resigned. He resigned.
PV: But if he wanted to he still could?
PV: He’s not registered as a sex offender?
MR: No, because he wasn’t convicted. He resigned.
The PV journalist then asks whether the teachers’ union knows about these kinds of cases:
PV: But the union knows about this stuff, right? They know that these people?
MR: Well, I’m the union. I’m representing him. But you asked me about the worst. That’s the worst that I’ve had.
Since Rubinstein says “Mike” was never convicted and simply resigned, Project Veritas arranged for a subsequent meeting between Rubinstein and another undercover journalist to verify the story and determine if “Mike” could still be teaching:
MR: One of my first cases I had a guy who was alleged — he was a junior high school teacher — and he was alleged to forcibly, he was a male teacher with male students, have oral sex with male students. He is alleged to have done it by force, like by knife point and by gun.
PV: By gun?
MR: By gun and by knifepoint. These are the charges. Okay.
Rubinstein then repeats the story to the undercover journalist and adds that he ran into “Mike” two years later on the street:
PV: So he was still living in New York?
MR: Get this, he was running for city council handing out fliers.
PV: Oh my god what’s his name?
MR: I can’t tell you his name.
PV: What do they call it? When they run and you have to run in certain precincts?
MR: Yeah I don’t remember. I don’t even know.
PV: I would love, like do you think he’s running right now?
MR: Oh no.
MR: I remember his name but I haven’t seen it. I’ll tell you his first name his first name is Mike.
PV: So you know his last name?
PV: I don’t get it why can’t you tell me?
MR: Attorney-client privilege.
— Liz Wheeler (@Liz_Wheeler) March 14, 2017
Despite additional research and investigation, PV was unable to determine the actual identity of “Mike” or to find out if he is still teaching.
— James O'Keefe (@JamesOKeefeIII) March 14, 2017
“We hope that by releasing this video, people will come forward and help us find Mike,” O’Keefe said in a statement.
Later, confronted by Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe in a telephone call on Tuesday, Rubinstein tried to back away from his story about the teacher.
“Did you make the whole thing up?” an incredulous O’Keefe asked, in an exchange captured on audio and video.
“Maybe I did, sir, yeah — maybe I did, because I was trying to impress a girl. I don’t know,” Rubinstein responded.
“Are you calling yourself a liar?” O’Keefe pressed further.
“Maybe … I would never lie in court … it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true, that’s all I’m saying.”
Finally, O’Keefe asked:
“You’re saying that this was one massive hoax that you repeated, twice, on two separate occasions, months in between — is that what you’re saying? You’ve never defended this type of incident? This has never been one of your cases?”
“Yes, perhaps. Perhaps. I’m saying, ‘Perhaps’.”