Patterico's Pontifications

1/28/2010

Lawyer: O’Keefe & Co. Trying to Embarrass Landrieu Over Ignoring Calls Re Health Care

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:27 pm

I think we have the first official hint of the defense of any of the defendants arrested in the James O’Keefe case:

A lawyer for one of four conservative activists accused of tampering with a Louisiana senator’s phones says they hoped to embarrass her over claims her staff ignored calls critical of her stance on health care reform.

J. Garrison Jordan is an attorney for suspect Robert Flanagan. He denies the men sought to disable or wiretap the phones in Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office at a federal building in New Orleans.

Jordan said Thursday they were trying to document allegations that Landrieu’s staff has been ignoring phone calls about the Democratic senator’s health care position.

I said on Wednesday:

UPDATE x4: I don’t know why I’m linking this. Sometimes, we bloggers, we link things. That’s what we do.

“This” was a link to a story about Landrieu claiming her phone lines had been “jammed” because of calls to her office over health care.

And then I said yesterday morning:

What was he doing? I don’t know. You might look at UPDATE x4 to my initial post about this, and consider the story linked there. Which has to do with Landrieu’s phones being “jammed” over calls coming in regarding her position on health care:

“We were stunned to learn that so many phone calls to Sen. Landrieu have been unanswered and met with continuous busy signals,” Perkins said. “We asked them to call their senators. They could get through to Sen. Vitter, but not Sen. Landrieu.”

“Our lines have been jammed for weeks, and I apologize,” Landrieu said in interview after giving a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday. “But no amount of jamming is going to keep me from supporting a good work for Louisiana and the nation.”

Just sayin’.

Always trust content from Patterico.

A Federal Prosecutor Explains The Statutes Relevant to the James O’Keefe Case

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:52 pm

[Guest post by Shipwreckedcrew]

[Note from Patterico: I asked federal prosecutor Shipwreckedcrew, formerly known as WLS, to contribute a piece that analyzes the federal statutes applicable to James O’Keefe’s criminal case.

His lengthy analysis is below the fold. For those with short attention spans, here’s the takeaway: the complaint alleges only a trespass charge. If O’Keefe et al. were trying to disable the Senator’s phone system, they’re in trouble. But maybe they only meant to show something about the current state of the phone system — and intended to return later with that video to press the Senator or her staff on their claim that constituents were unable to get through to her because her phone system was not functioning properly. In that case, we’re looking at no indictment or a misdemeanor.

Thanks to Shipwreckedcrew for this analysis. Now for the full details.

— Patterico]

(more…)

Layoffs for Phoenix Police, Fire Dept

Filed under: Economics,Government — DRJ @ 8:17 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

For the first time in its history, budget problems will force the City of Phoenix, Arizona, to lay off police and fire department employees:

“As Phoenix struggles with an unprecendented budget crisis, officials say police officers and firefighters will be laid off for the first time in city history.

The announcement came Thursday afternoon as the Phoenix city manager informed city departments how much funding they would lose this year. *** [E]arly estimates are that 350 sworn police officers will be fired and 144 firefighters let go.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, state and local budget problems will only get worse as the stimulus funds end but the mandates continue.

— DRJ

Governator: Hey, I Have a Great Idea! Let’s Ship Our Illegal State Prisoners to Mexico!

Filed under: Crime,Morons — Patterico @ 8:01 pm

Idiot:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger floated a different approach to trimming down California’s bloated prison budget on Monday: pay Mexico to build new prisons and ship off California’s incarcerated illegal immigrants south of the border.

The Republican governor has pushed to house California inmates out-of-state before — but never in a different country.

“We can do so much better in the prison system alone if we can go and take inmates, for instance the 20,000 inmates that are illegal immigrants that are here, and get them to Mexico,” Schwarzenegger said during a question-and answer session at the Sacramento Press Club. “Think about it.”

OK, I will . . .

There, I’m done thinking.

Stupid idea.

P.S. I meant to publish this Monday but somehow never got around to pressing the “Publish” button. But several of you have e-mailed me about it in the meantime, so I sense that interest is high.

Shuster vs Breitbart on O’Keefe (Updated)

Filed under: Media Bias,Politics — DRJ @ 1:47 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

From RealClearPolitics, “Andrew Breitbart gets MSNBC’s David Shuster to retract their story that James O’Keefe was trying to wiretap Sen. Landrieu’s office:”

SHUSTER: “Andrew, you want things to be framed on your terms …”

And Shuster doesn’t frame things? Shuster is reporting from New Orleans, Louisiana, obviously so he can cover the O’Keefe charges in depth and give them added emphasis. Did MSNBC do that for any of the ACORN stories?

In his introduction, Shuster reported O’Keefe said his motive was to investigate how Senator Landrieu handles her phone calls. A law enforcement source said “the four men were not attempting to wiretap Landrieu’s phones but instead wanted to see how her office would react to those phones not working, the shutdown of the system …”

H/T bookwomanblue.

— DRJ

UPDATE — Don’t miss Andrew Breitbart’s post at Big Journalism: “How David Shuster Lied to Get to Me to Appear on MSNBC” … including Shuster’s “neutral” tweets about O’Keefe.

H/T Dustin.

CBS News and the L.A. Times Owe O’Keefe Corrections and Clarifications

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:17 am

As I noted last night, the Washington Post yesterday retracted its claim that the feds are charging James O’Keefe with an attempt to bug Mary Landrieu’s phones:

Earlier versions of this story incorrectly reported that James O’Keefe faced charges in an alleged plot to bug the office of Sen. Mary Landrieu. The charges were related to an alleged plot to tamper with a phone system. The headline incorrectly referred to a plot to bug the phone and a caption incorrectly referred to an alleged wiretap scheme.

Some other organizations owe corrections and clarifications.

CBS News (h/t Steve), here:

CBS Claims Bug Suspects 1

Close-up:

CBS Claims Bug Suspects 3

and here:

CBS Claims Bug Suspects 2

Close-up:

CBS Claims Bug Suspects 4

It’s a blatant misstatement of fact. The Post had the decency to correct their error. CBS News should follow suit.

And the L.A. Times yesterday editorialized:

James O’Keefe’s latest caper

Filmmaker James O’Keefe III is 25, meaning he was born about 13 years after five men were arrested for trying to bug the offices of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate complex in Washington. The subsequent scandal, which led to the resignation of the burglars’ boss, President Richard M. Nixon, was fodder for history books by the time O’Keefe was old enough to read them. Chances are, he didn’t.

O’Keefe, the Internet “journalist” who became an overnight sensation after his undercover reports revealed unethical behavior by the liberal activist group ACORN, now finds himself in the middle of his own bugging scandal.

Uh, no, he doesn’t. As has now been made clear by someone in law enforcement:

A law enforcement official says the four men arrested for attempting to tamper with the phones in the New Orleans office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) were not trying to intercept or wiretap the calls.

That quote, while anonymous, is convincing because it is not self-serving. Plus, the affidavit said nothing about wiretapping or intercepting calls. So there is no reason at all to believe that is what was going on. None.

If you enjoy the sensation of banging your head against the wall, you can write the L.A. Times‘s new Readers’ Representative and point out that the entire premise of this editorial is (to use the Nixonian term) inoperative. That they should have known better than to compare this to Watergate, because the affidavit never mentioned wiretapping. That a man’s reputation has now been sullied by their comparison of this video stunt to the criminal act of Watergate. That they owe readers a clarification, to promote the truth.

But you won’t get a correction. They will tell you that they didn’t misstate any facts.

See, the editorial writer was clever enough not to openly say that the feds had charged O’Keefe with wiretapping. The writer merely insinuated it:

It isn’t clear what the men were after or why they targeted Landrieu, who is one of the most conservative Democrats in the Senate. But the fact that they tried to access the office’s telephone closet, where the wiring for the system is located, suggests that they may have wanted to tap Landrieu’s phone network.

Actually, it isn’t a “fact” that they “tried” to access the office’s telephone closet. It’s an allegation in a government affidavit. I believe they pretended to try to access the telephone closet, to tape the reaction of officials: “Why? It’s not like there’s a problem with the phones in Sen. Landrieu’s office!”

Maybe they can be frightened into a clarification if you explain to them that they took a government allegation and called it a “fact.” That’s the kind of thing that gets papers sued.

But don’t appeal to their responsibility to disseminate the truth. They will be more concerned with their own reputation for accuracy (we technically don’t have to correct it because we technically didn’t misstate a fact) than with whether they have unfairly smeared the reputation of a young man.

Because it’s a conservative young man, you see. So his reputation doesn’t matter.

I would love to see how the new Readers’ Rep handles this. Write her and I’ll publish your exchange once you get a response — as long as you are polite to her.

Polite . . . but firm.

readersrep@latimes.com


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