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 in Va

    Republicans at work!

    Can we say WATERGATE!

    January 26, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  2. Kyle, Virginia

    Throw the book at 'em!

    January 26, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  3. DanInKY

    Republican dirty tricks anyone?

    January 26, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  4. Jane/Seattle

    Silly, Young Men! You have to be rich, powerful, and protected to get away with such actions. Just look at what Reagan/George H.W. Bush, GWB/Cheney managed to get away with! Total Crime Pays Only If YOU Run The Place!

    January 26, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  5. Steph

    Let me guess....tea party activists? Wait...isn't he the Conservative "star" of the acorn pimp videos? Conservatives, these are your heroes. Sadly, so far your heroes include petty criminals, a congressman who yells "you lie" at a formal government event, a woman who reads all magazines/newspapers and admires all the founding fathers ,and finally, a government official who has no respect for human life...calling some humans "stray animals" and advocating starving them to death. Now, there's a bunch to admire...

    January 26, 2010 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  6. Rick McDaniel

    What else would you expect from Louisiana???

    January 26, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  7. Jan

    This is a direct attempt to undermine a democracy.
    Sad.

    What's with Republican activists and their attitude that they are above the law? I wonder if "fair" and "balanced" "news" will report this? Or will this story be more like John Ensign's affair and hush money ... met with complete silence.

    January 26, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  8. Doraine Gordon

    Undoubtedly hired by the Republicans! IWasn't it Nixon's bunch who created Watergate? This is so absurd. The very idea of sneaking around trying to get something on the Dems. It isn't enough that the GOP distorts everything the Dems do with their blatant lies and accusations. If the American people are ever stupid enough to put that bunch of lunatics back into power, God help us!

    January 26, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  9. What goes around comes around...

    Please provide the FULL story. This is the same "conservative" O'Keefe that posed (lied) as a pimp and also called Planned Parenthood targeting donations against minorities saying, "There's way too many black people in Ohio."

    One word: karma. O'Keefe and his ilk got busted this time.

    January 26, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  10. Marie MD

    The new "Watergate"! Typical repug tactics. Nothing to add to the pot, but they don't like anything. Now they have to bug telephone lines. This isn't Nazi Germany but they look more like it every single day.

    January 26, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  11. Jayden,FL

    Haha good for these right wing nutjob teabaggers I hope they get the 10 years in prison and have to pay the 250,000 fine

    January 26, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  12. Danny J

    If they committed a crime, they committed a crime and should be punished. But if they had something on Landrieu that actually sticks, I am curious to find out what it is.

    January 26, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  13. Justen in Florida

    James O'Keefe, the same guy who videod the acorn stuff..

    think he might have crossed the line into crimminal activity this time, he should be charged.

    Yeah, telling the senators staff that you are phone repairmen, in order to mess with their phones... I mean, that's pretty stupid.

    January 26, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  14. Mary Lou

    Why isn't it noted in this article that James O'Keefe is the same person who taped video at the ACORN office. Is this Fox News or CNN? I expect better at CNN.

    January 26, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  15. Nimises

    Well, watergate again. So, I will be interested in their intent. Perhaps a political trap like the one that occurred with Acorn. Let's throw crap at a wall and see if anything sticks.

    January 26, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  16. Beverly in NC

    Sounds like the Republicans are at it again – breaking into the offices of Democrats out of paranoia of what truths have been uncovered about their corrupt Republican policies. If this had been a Republican Senator who had their office broken into, the Republicans would be already concoting conspiracy theories. Since Republicans did it, they will try to ignore it and act like it was nothing. Criminal behavior is business as usual for the Republican Party...it's Nixon all over again.

    January 26, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  17. Ethan

    Watergate II. You just can't TRUST the Republican Party! Who put these criminal goons up to it? The RNC? Follow the money!

    January 26, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  18. NC

    Dumb and Dumber, maybe they are tea baggers.

    January 26, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  19. felicia

    And one of them fools was the one who did the acorn bit. These people were paid to do this. All i see is a conspiracy to bring my President down. You people can do all you can but you can;t break our spirits.

    January 26, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  20. Hugo

    Meanwhile Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-Louisiana goes unscathed for accepting a 3 million dollar tax payer funded bribe for her State to vote for a healthcare deformity that 70% of Americans do not want. I would say that this will just be the first of some more serious acts of dissension that will follow as our economy continues to crumble and our leader continues to lead us down the path of economic and social collapse. The ONLY thing stimulus did was keep government bureaucrats in their government jobs while the private small businesses fold, even when they have nothing to do!

    BUCK THE FED!

    January 26, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  21. Mark

    There is no such thing as an honest politician in New Orleans, I bet their recorders would have been smoking if they could have done the phone tap.

    January 26, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  22. Jquen

    follow the money
    I smell sean hannity....

    January 26, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  23. Brian

    Watergate 2.0. I hope someone at the Washington Post still has the guts and work ethic to chase this all the way to the desk of John Boehner or whichever other powerful Republican Senator ordered these actions. Because tapping Landrieu's calls would provide important information to only a few people out there, and they're all in the Republican Senate opposition.

    January 26, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  24. wondering

    Can't wait to see how Fox will spin this one

    January 26, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  25. Dutch the Great

    Watergate part 2.

    January 26, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
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