January 26th, 2010
08:03 PM ET
5 years ago

Four men charged with Senate office infiltration

Four men were charged Tuesday with attempting to illegally access and manipulate the phone system in a district office of U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-Louisiana.
Four men were charged Tuesday with attempting to illegally access and manipulate the phone system in a district office of U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-Louisiana.

(CNN) - A conservative activist who made controversial undercover videos of the liberal community organizing group ACORN was one of four men charged Tuesday with attempting to illegally access and manipulate the phone system in a district office of U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.

Joseph Basel, 24, Robert Flanagan, 24, James O'Keefe, 25, and Stan Dai, 24, were charged with entering Landrieu's New Orleans office - which is federal property - under "false pretenses for the purpose of committing a felony," according to a news release from the local U.S. attorney's office.

The four posted a $10,000 unsecured bond and were released, said Kathy English of the Department of Justice. According to CNN affiliate WWL, the next court date in the case was set for Feb. 12.

O'Keefe is the same conservative activist who dressed up as a pimp last summer and visited ACORN offices to solicit advice on setting up a brothel, among other scenarios, law enforcement officials confirmed. He secretly
recorded the visits on videotapes that were posted on the Internet, leading to a media firestorm.

Flanagan is the son of William Flanagan, the acting U.S. attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, his office said.

Articles on conservative Web sites connect O'Keefe to a man named Joe Basel, describing them as conservative student activists and filmmakers.

"This is a very unusual situation and somewhat unsettling for me and my staff," Landrieu said in a statement Tuesday night. "The individuals responsible have been charged with entering federal property under false pretenses for the purposes of committing a felony. I am as interested as everyone else about their motives and purpose, which I hope will become clear as the investigation moves forward."

Full story

Updated: 8:03 p.m.


Filed under: Mary Landrieu • Popular Posts
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. Tom L.

    Sniffit!

    You have been conspicuously quiet lately. Were you in Viginia? Or maybe Connecticut? No wait, maybe it was Massachusetts.

    Funny how quiet you have been lately. Funny how you see this story and now start to post. Where were you after Brown won?

    January 26, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  2. lifelong democrat

    If they're found guilty, punish them. NO EXCUSES for breaking the law. Now, when people like Rangel still in Congress be punish?

    January 26, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  3. John

    @Jon in madison: Go back to church you lunatic. They are republicans and criminals, you see, the two are not mutually exclusive.

    Also we are not talking about elected representatives. This if 4 D-Bags on committing REAL crimes, not politicians committing what YOU perceive to be a crime. I bet you think any socially progressive policy is criminal...

    Oh and the President lied under oath during his swearing in you say? That has to be the dumbest thing I have ever heard come out of a Teabagger's hateful mouth.

    January 26, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  4. AEK

    Now if Bush, Chaney and Rove were still in power and manipulating federal prosecutors all over the country, these boys might have just walked. But since there is a new sheriff in town who DID NOT appreciate the hatchet job these clowns did on ACORN, I think they may find their predicament a little more dire.

    January 26, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  5. Tom L.

    Jerseylou,

    The only member of the KKK that you will find in Congress is Robert Byrd...and he has a "D" next to his name...

    January 26, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  6. Nimises

    You guys accusing the administration of folding small business are misled. What would you prefer? I guess inslaving individuals in a work force is just fine if business makes a profit. You would have to own a business to be a republican, any other employee is better served with Democrats. The repubs only serve Big Business, the rest are slaves to commerce.

    January 26, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  7. Tony

    I'm sure Mr. O'Keefe will be very popular in prison.

    January 26, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  8. alpha_nu_916

    if people looked at this objectively, i pretty sure we'd all agree these men, if found guilty, are crooks. however, conservatives are declaring these young men patriots.
    these same conservatives, however, would be calling these men terrorist if they were affiliated with ACORN or ELF & attempted infiltrating senator mccain's office to tap his phonelines.
    call a spade a spade.

    January 26, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  9. Mark

    What they did is wrong, it's a shame after the great expose on Acorn. But one of them is a U.S. Attorneys son.....maybe they were working undercover. There are no honest politicians in Louisiana, if they had been able to install a tap that recorder would have been smoking!

    January 26, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  10. Ben

    Steph – I'll take any of them over that sorry Liberal bunch you support any day.

    January 26, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  11. CF

    Once again proving Teabaggers are thugs and lowlifes, doing anything to make the other guy look bad.

    January 26, 2010 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    You want sniffing glue? How's this:

    "We want democracy nothing less and we dont want lies and talk trying to sway us from their mistakes and what they planned for OUR COUNTRY"

    $10 says the guy who posted that was at the front of th elines chanting "death panels." You GOPers want democracy? Stop trying to undermine it with massive misinformation campaigns and demogoguery. A well-educated and accurately informed populace will make the best decisions as to what lies in its best interests...we don't need your stinking fabrications. A vote in opposition to or in support of something which one does not accurately understand or believes is something it is not, is not a vote in opposition to or in support of that which it truly is.

    January 26, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  13. They call me "tater salad"

    Oh what a tangled web we weave............Stay classy Republicans.......Way to aim high.....Losers!!!!!!

    January 26, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    "You just don't get it do you?"

    What's there to get? It's all pretty simple. Their powerful Republican daddies made vesting of their interests in their trust funds contingent upon them doing things like this to play partisan games and undermine our democracy. Pretty clear, no?

    January 26, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  15. Ethan

    The Headline is way too soft. They intentionally and MALICIOUSLY tried to SPY ON A SITTING U.S. SENATOR!!! This must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

    And that includes: INVESTIGATING THE MOTIVE and determining if OTHER PERPETRATORS (like the RNC) were involved in the conspiracy to bug a Democratic Senator's phone.

    Here is what the affidavit of their arrest says:

    ...FOR THE PURPOSES OF WILLFULLY AND MALICIOUSLY INTERFERING WITH A TELEPHONE SYSTEM OPERATED AND CONTROLLED BY THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

    January 26, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  16. Pagan in VA

    "What are we going to do TONIGHT, Brain?"
    "The same thing we do EVERY night, Pinky. Try to sabotage the Democrats!"

    ...These goons deserve to live in a cage, too... a cage called, "prison."

    January 26, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    "Funny how quiet you have been lately. Funny how you see this story and now start to post. Where were you after Brown won?"

    I've been posting plenty, idiot, although if I get beaten to the punch by one of the fakers, it generally means I don't get posted, which is why they do it. As for Brown, I don't really see it as th ebig deal you people obviously do. Anyone with a brain in their head knows that a 60 Dem supermajority in the Senate is fairly meaningless because they rarely move in the goose-stepping siamese-twins-style manner the GOP does. Stop believing the media hype on things like that...they only made a big deal of it because it made it a better story. Had they been honest, the story would have been about "How are the Dems going to sabotage themselves by capitulating with Republican pantwetters...AGAIN?"

    January 26, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  18. Ben in Texas

    Rethugligate. Repugnagate. Dem-bait-o-gate.

    I'm ready to hear who they implicate in order to buy-down their sentences. Could be some big conservative names in their phone contact lists. You know, the Watergate burglars were just ordinary criminals when they first got caught, and later they were the Plumbers when things got traced back to Tricky Dick (Nixon, not Cheney).

    Who's shaking in their boots in Washington tonight?

    January 26, 2010 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "Robert Flanagan is the son of acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana William J. Flanagan. Dad must be so proud."

    Only if he didn't get caught.

    January 26, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  20. Ben

    Sniffit – "Stop trying to undermine it with massive misinformation campaigns and demogoguery"

    You mean like you Libs are doing with the healthcare bill? Libs are nothing BUT lies and demogoguery. You can spin this any way you want, the Dems are gonna take it in the shorts come November.

    January 26, 2010 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
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