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. geecee

    Yes, definitely shades of Watergate. Those Rethugs just can't help themselves. Dig up dirt, use it, sling it, grovel in the mud. They just love to "expose" Democrats. And of all people, Mary Landrieu who is just barely a Democrat. I would call her conservative if anything. But, hey, let them try to "bug" whomever they want. They are lowlife muckrakers anyway. Conservatives to the core who will use any tactic to destroy their opponents. The conservative movement in this country has no gag reflex. That's for sure. Just look at their incredibly long list of misfits – Palin, Bachman, Rush, Blech, O'Reilly, Malkin, Ingram, Drudge, Morris, Goldberg, in fact the entire Faux News crowd. All sick in the head right-wing nutjobs, just looking for some "dirt" on anyone and anything so they use it to divide this country.

    January 26, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  2. Jon In Madison

    These are not Republicans you morons. They are criminals. You Dems should no what a criminal looks like, you have put so many in to office over the past 3 decades. Tim Geitner – Tax cheat, Rahmm Emanuel – Where do we start, Chuck Schumer – Tax cheat, President Obama – Lied under oath during his swearing in. Complete progressive morons. Don't throw stones unless you are clean of sin yourselves. Instead of blaming other parties, let's throw the crooks from both side out. Unfortunately, most of you will say, "throw them all out, except my representative." That's how these crooks keep getting re-elected.

    January 26, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  3. Sarah

    Watergate all over again.......the republicans will stop at nothing to try to damage the democrats and this President

    January 26, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  4. notfooledbydistractions

    One of the other men, Robert Flanagan, is the son of William Flanagan, the acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana.

    Nice, I guess they're too young to remember Watergate – and too stupid to know right from wrong and legal from illegal. Say good-bye jailbirds. You earned yourselves a jail sentence with this schtick.

    January 26, 2010 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  5. _me

    Who knows? If it's a conspiracy, we might as well go all the way and suggest it was the Democrats trying to make another Watergate to throw scandal on the Republicans. It could very well be either one.

    Brian, I agree with you in part: I hope someone gets to the root of this matter. Publish the truth!

    January 26, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    Goes to show how credible O'Keefe's chopped-up out-of-context ACORN films were. Makes you wonder whether he did a few illegal things to piece that tripe together too.

    As for Faux Noise, I predict their headline: "Hero Becomes Martyr"...followed by a full 30 minute special edition of Area-51 X-files style conspiracy theories about the Obama administration and the secret service trying to frame the little d-bag.

    January 26, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "But if they had something on Landrieu that actually sticks, I am curious to find out what it is."

    Can you say fishing expedition? Dems around the country might want to take a quick peek in the phone box on their buildings.

    January 26, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  8. windrider

    Here's hoping O'Keefe and his merry band of bandits get the full 10 years plus the $250,000 fine. Each. That'll cost Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes a pretty penny but then treason isn't usually cheap.

    January 26, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  9. Gary

    Entering a Federal building illegaly. Maybe they should be tried in a Military Court as terrorists.

    January 26, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    10 YEARS:

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAA...

    January 26, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  11. Brimamassie

    This headline should be "Acorn Undercover Videographer Arrested"

    January 26, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  12. jaegermeister

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

    January 26, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  13. Steph

    First, I think Jon in Madison needs to learn how to spell "know". Second, one is the son of a prominent Republican in Louisiana and another is the "pimp" in the Acorn video. Obviously, these crooks are Republicans and heroes of the tea party folks. It is what it is.

    January 26, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  14. Sam Sixpack

    Now that O'Keefe is stupid, are we ACORN apologists again?

    January 26, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  15. Jefe

    I honestly think you need to treat this as an espionage case. If he had intercepted something he shouldn't have, it could easily be used to undermine the security of the United States of America. I guess spreading lies through "The Internets" isn't good enough for the Anti-American Neocon Constitution Underminers anymore.

    January 26, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  16. RTB

    What a bunch of dim witted, privileged, spoiled brats.

    I hope we see and they receive...JUSTICE.

    January 26, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  17. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    What would Republicans want to see happen to Democratic "operatives" who had performed the same acts?

    DO THAT to these punks.

    Assuming that this guy is the same one who tried to discredit Acorn, it REALLY leaves him without ANY credibility. I gotta say, I'm disappointed in what our politicians have sunk to. I have little doubt that if these guys had been successful in planting their "devices," they would have gotten PLENTY of dirt on Ms Landrieu.

    Let's send them all home, run fresh elections with 100% fresh candidates, all with NO EXPERIENCE. I'd bet that we would get a better class of criminal with more of a willingness to do THE PEOPLES BUSINESS – wouldn't that be nice?

    January 26, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  18. Raul

    Ha, Ha, Ha,....LOL So O'Keefe the one time "pimp" got caught! Well well there is justice after all. I hope they prosecute to fullest extent of the law. I hope that when he serves time in Federal Prison he gets pimped out to the BGF and the AB. I would gladly watch the episode on "Lock Up".

    January 26, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  19. GuyInVA

    Hey wondering,

    If you were "wondering" enough to actually look, you will see that FOX News (on foxnews.com) repeats most of the AP story under the headlines "'Pimp' Who Targeted Acorn Arrested" and "Filmmaker Who Targeted ACORN Arrested In Alleged Senate Phone Scheme". Pretty sinister, huh?

    January 26, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  20. Ben

    Once again we see Sniffit has been sniffing glue. You just don't get it do you?

    January 26, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  21. Donna, texas

    Oh, don't worry, I'm sure Glen Beck or Hannity will be running right down there to bail them out!

    January 26, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  22. jerseylou

    Maybe the Dems should start getting the dirt on the repugs.For instance see which ones belong to the nazi and kkk organizations,fair is fair.

    January 26, 2010 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  23. Thanh

    Dumb. If these extremist groups would spend their resources trying to fix the problem rather than take the current government down or sabotage it, the country probably would be so bad.

    There is so much money out there just fueling these endless campaigns on both sides. Meanwhile, there are sick and dying folks in our own country just trying to get enough money to eat, let alone find a warm place to sleep.

    The government gives Haiti $100m in aid and people scream. But the American people have no problems spending much more than that to show their point of view.

    Millions of dollars were spent for the health care reform debate through advertising and conventions, and people gladly donated their time and money. The tragic thing is school programs all over the nation are being cut. Our future is in these kids, and people choose not to fund them, but fund ideology instead. Universities need funding for research to find cures that people need or will need. Spend the money there.

    January 26, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  24. Sue

    He surely must be Obombas friend!!!!

    January 26, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  25. Tom L.

    This is absolutley classic. So it takes you 5 minutes to put this up about him being arrested yet it took over a week to mention anything about his investigation of ACORN.

    Interesting.

    January 26, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
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