Patterico's Pontifications


James O’Keefe Gives His Side

Filed under: ACORN/O'Keefe,General — Patterico @ 9:02 am

The following is a document that James O’Keefe sent to me last night and has authorized me to publish. It is O’Keefe’s version of events in New Orleans. I believe this is the first time anywhere that he has publicly given his full statement of what occurred.

The document was drafted by lawyers based on O’Keefe’s statements, and was intended to be offered as the factual basis for his plea. O’Keefe confirmed for me that this document is an accurate account of what happened.

What Really Happened in New Orleans

Factual Basis

On January 25, 2010, Messrs. James O’Keefe, Stan Dai, Joe Basel, and Michael Flanagan (collectively “Defendants”) entered the Hale Boggs Federal Building located at 500 Poydras Street, New Orleans, Louisiana (“Hale Boggs Building”), with no intent to commit a felony, but rather an intent to engage in political speech with respect to pending national healthcare legislation (the “Healthcare Bill”). During the several days before their entry to the Hale Boggs building, Defendants discussed opportunities to engage in independent journalism and political advocacy. One of the ideas raised during those discussions was a method to test the truthfulness of Senator Landrieu’s statements as to the reason for the inability of Tea Party members and other Louisiana constituents to contact her staff on the telephone to discuss her vote on the Healthcare Bill. The Defendants were advised that this was a recent story in the news in New Orleans.

Prior to the Defendants’ arrival in New Orleans there had been picketing of the Senator’s office by Tea Party Members and others. The controversy about Senator Landrieu’s phones was described in a prior news article as follows:

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

“Our lines have been jammed for weeks, and I apologize,” Landrieu said in interview after giving a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday.

As a result, the Defendants devised what was, in retrospect, a poorly thought out plan to test the veracity of Senator Landrieu’s statements. The plan settled upon was for two of the Defendants to dress as telephone repairmen and, wearing an audio and video camera hidden in one of the hard hats they wore as part of their disguise, enter Senator Landrieu’s office and interview her staff while a third Defendant recorded the interviews using a second audio and video camera.

The group devised a plan involving disguises because they believed that if they simply entered Senator Landrieu’s office and identified themselves as journalists they would not likely receive truthful answers. They thought it likely that Senator Landrieu’s staff would be more candid with a repairman than a reporter. Looking back, the Defendants now recognize clearly that this plan was imprudent, and produced unintended security concerns and consequences that none of the Defendants anticipated. The Defendants agree that they should have anticipated these consequences and regret that they decided to proceed in that fashion.

Upon entering the Hale Boggs Building, the Defendants presented their real drivers license identifications to security officials and were not questioned as to the purpose of their visit to the Hale Boggs Building or where in the Hale Boggs Building they were going. Before passing through security, the Defendants placed all of their equipment (including all recording and video devices) through the security x-ray machines, as requested by the Hale Boggs Building security employees.

After passing through the Hale Boggs Building security checkpoint, the Defendants proceeded to the 10th floor, where Senator Landrieu’s office is located. Senator Landrieu’s office was and is open to the public and the Defendants entered through its open door. They spoke with members of Senator Landrieu’s staff, then separately left the Senator’s office and exited the Hale Boggs Building.

A short time later, the Defendants were “detained” by Federal Marshals. They believed they would be released when the US Marshals realized that they were journalists and immediately explained to the commanding US Marshal that they were journalists investigating whether Senator Landrieu wasn’t answering her calls.

Despite truthfully explaining, in detail, to the FBI and Federal Marshals that their purpose was solely to ask questions (and record the questions and answers) of Senator Landrieu’s staff regarding recently published statements by constituents that calls to Senator Landrieu’s staff concerning her vote in favor of the pending Healthcare Bill were not being returned and about the Senator’s public statement that her office phones had been “jammed,” Defendants were charged in a criminal complaint with a felony:

by false and fraudulent pretense enter and attempt to enter real property belonging to the United States of America with the intent to commit a felony: to wit, willful and malicious[s] interference with a working and use of a telephone system operated and controlled by the United States; in violation of Title 18 United States Code Section(s) 1036(a)(1), 1362, and 2.

At approximately 8 pm, the Defendants were taken from the Federal Building to the St. Bernard Parish Jail. The Defendants remained in jail overnight and were then transported the next afternoon in red jumpsuits and hand and leg irons back to the Hale Boggs Building where they were “arraigned” before Magistrate Judge Louis Moore, Jr., who released them on personal bonds of $10,000.

O’Keefe clarified to me that he and his companions entered only the public reception area of Sen. Landrieu’s office.

O’Keefe’s attorney Michael Madigan is scheduled to appear on Fox News Sunday tomorrow morning to discuss the prosecution.

More to come later today, including a post about the First Amendment implications of the judge ordering the destruction of the footage of O’Keefe’s foray into Landrieu’s offices, and a post about New York Magazine‘s retraction of the errors I highlighted here the other day.

UPDATE: My post about the court-ordered destruction of footage of a Landrieu staffer admitting there had been no problem with the Senator’s phones, here.

55 Responses to “James O’Keefe Gives His Side”

  1. that’s exactly what i thought it was about.

    sarainitaly (dc31e7)

  2. How . . . DARE you publish the truth!!!

    Fraidy Cat Hoot Owl (f6dd9c)

  3. SO then the GSA office AND the FBI made a sworn statement that they then went to gain access to a secure Federal communications portal? And when they were asked for their ID they replied that they left it in the vehicle? Is this part true?

    I dont remember all of the details of the FBI agent’s statement to the Magistrate? But it seems to me that other felony charges could have been brought that they did intent to secretly photograph a possible secure area under false pretenses.

    Sure their intent was to catch Landrieu with her phones off, but they went to far, poor planning is an excuse to commit several federal felonies?

    Lucky Masseli-Mann and Letten were life long Republicans nand that one of their party was the son of a long time high ranking DOJ official

    Pleading guilty to a misdemeanor – was that to avoid a felony indictment – if not why not fight it in court?

    EricPWJohnson (cedf1d)

  4. EricPWJohnson, you are still making up stuff. It is nothing short of astonishing that you are still at this, after having your backside handed to you.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  5. SPQR

    So I looked it up – thanks for pointing out the need to show that James is in conflict with a law enforcement officer in a sworn statement under penalty of perjury – you can take the word of someone who had to plead guilty to avoid a felony indictment – or the word of someone who actually interviewed everyone and sworn to the information that was gathered who was a career law enforcement official.

    Here is the Link

    Basel and Flannigan went dressed as telephone repairmen and tried to convince the GSA official to give them access to a Secure Federal
    Communications Portal with concealed video equipment with the intent to video tape the facility

    THIS is a very bad bad thing

    EricPWJohnson (cedf1d)

  6. ^either pay up on your bet or STFU, welcher.

    Dmac (3d61d9)

  7. EricPWJohnson should get a job working for Media Matters. (If he does not have one already) He has the “pathological dishonesty” down pat, not to mention the mandatory “slippery evasiveness”.

    Subotai (f062fa)

  8. I’m confused then – did they go to the GSA office and pretend to have authorization or pretend to be telephone repairmen with secret video equipment or not?

    Is the FBI agent then lying?

    I mean did he or didnt he plead guilty?

    If he was innocent then why did he?

    Was it to avoid felony indictment?

    So the GSA officials, the Federal Marshalls and the FBI agent(s) are all lying and the 4 who were arrested were not – is that what you are stipulating?

    EricPWJohnson (cedf1d)

  9. O’Keefe and company committed a crime and no amount of rationalization gets around it.

    Tiparillo (c67124)

  10. EricPWJohnson, the conflict is between the affidavit of the US Attorney and the FBI affidavit.

    You really are not paying attention. Just what investment do you have in your exaggerations?

    SPQR (26be8b)

  11. SPQR

    Thanks for responding, I dont know enough about the chain of documents and events but

    But then again

    Why did he plead guilty?

    Why didnt he fight it in court?

    Seems to me he had lots of very good legal counsel, so why?

    EricPWJohnson (cedf1d)

  12. because it is never a given that the jury will see the facts as they are, especially in a town as corrupt as New Orleans…

    besides, now that he has a conviction on his record, his street cred is unarguable. 😀

    Maxwell Smart (fb8750)

  13. James OKeefe is a convicted criminal.

    He is also a repeated and pathological Liar.

    This is most aptly demonstrated by his bogus assault on ACORN and his doctored video “evidence”. It is also demonstrated by the fact that he can never keep his stories straight (liars like OKeefe tend to confuse themselves). His own lack of accountability, or the contrived inaccesibility he kept around his “evidence” (until forced to release it as part of a deal) speak of a person who has far more skeletons to hide than to reveal.

    He’s a liar, and should be grateful that his million-dollar attorneys edited down his rambling testimony to make it less ridiculous than it truly is.

    His side of the story in NOLA holds as much water as his side of the story in San Diego… that is, absolutely none.

    But thanks to fora such as this one, james will continue to lie, and continue to waste the time energy and resources so that law-enforement is made to look away from real crimes just to watch his little circus. And it is hardly “fiscally responsible” to drain our tax dollars on the legal consequences of Okeefes stupid games.

    BTW as his fans, you are doing him no favors by encouraging his reckless confabulations.

    You are not helping him by cheering him down this sprial.

    When he winds up taking a bigger fall for bigger stakes (and he will), know that you have yourselves to blame.

    But until then, one thing remains a fact. Despite his false accusations against other people,
    James OKeefe is a convicted criminal, and thanks to his very bad advice, so are his friends.

    LuvyBuns (59694d)

  14. “LuvyBuns”, your claims that the ACORN videos were “doctored” is without any basis at all. It is your invention. You list no inconsistent stories by O’Keefe at all.

    The only “wastes” of law enforcement resources was the prosecution of O’Keefe as a favor to a Democratic Senator.

    You keep refering to “facts” but not actually listing any.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  15. I dont know enough about the chain of documents and events but

    … but you have no intention of letting your admitted ignorance prevent you from running your mouth on the subject.

    Subotai (f01b9a)

  16. “LuvyBuns”: over many months, Patterico has made a score of posts on the claims that the ACORN videos were deceptively edited. Why don’t you go on one of those many threads and show up with details how he was wrong? You know, those facts you keep referring to but not actually coughing up.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  17. Subotai

    Then why wouldnt Okeefe insist on being formally charged and fighting it in court?

    I dont know but if James was intending to truely expose Landrieu what better venue than under penalty of Perjury having her have to admit she turned her phones off in Federal Court?

    That would have put a final dent in her torrid political career

    Seriously why on earth would an innocent man negotiate and plead guilty to something he didnt do or even intend to do and negiotiate for months – like Pat said he is a WELL documented journalist and videographer – the intent was clear was it not?

    EricPWJohnson (cedf1d)

  18. I’m confused then…

    Yes you are Eric.

    And LuvyBuns, I think your posts would be much more convincing if you used more bold and italic text, ’cause that really screamsI am SERIOUS HERE!!!

    I’d also consider lots more CAPS and copious exclamation points!!!1!one!!1

    TomB (67ef7f)

  19. EricPWJohnson, you keep pretending not to know why someone would plead guilty to a no-jail, minimal community service misdemeanor instead of fighting a Federal indictment even when they are not guilty of the allegations.

    Get a clue. The answer is any sane person.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  20. SPQR

    I am not aware of anyone with video evidence of their innocence that would knowingly plead guilty to have to do 100 hours of community service and be three years under probation with the very real threat of being incarcerated that would have plead guilty.

    I dont know anyone that would

    EricPWJohnson (cedf1d)

  21. Just a thought.

    Could it be they pleaded as such because they agreed that what they did was indeed a misdemeanor?

    I mean, it’s a big enough embarrassment to everyone so wrapped up in these guys going to jail, like Eric here, that the slap on the wrist they’re getting is worth avoiding the hellhole that is the Louisiana legal system.

    TomB (67ef7f)

  22. Tom

    He shouldnt plead guilty when he was innocent right?

    Why would anyone do that when they had evidence – video evidence?

    EricPWJohnson (cedf1d)

  23. EricPWJohnson, your ignorance is not an argument. Pleading in such a situation is a rational decision. Your pretended ignorance is only confirmation of what anyone who has read your many bizarre comments on this topic already knows, that you continue to make pronouncements without factual basis or any logic at all.

    And you keep ignoring that the prosecution destroyed the video evidence.

    Is there a reason you feel the need to post comments on the many threads of this topic that are so incoherent, so devoid of factual basis and so devoid of any kind of rational view of the situation?

    SPQR (26be8b)

  24. He shouldnt plead guilty when he was innocent right?

    Can you point to any place in the document where they claim they were “innocent”?

    The document does say it was “a poorly thought out plan”, hence the pleading. But I don’t see any claims of “innocence”.

    TomB (67ef7f)

  25. TomB, the agreement shows that O’Keefe and the US Attorney certainly thought that O’Keefe was innocent of the charges that EricPWJohnson has been making up.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  26. TomB, the agreement shows that O’Keefe and the US Attorney certainly thought that O’Keefe was innocent of the charges that EricPWJohnson has been making up.

    I agree, but he’s being purposefully vague when he talks of “innocene” here, and I’m just trying to pin him down as to what he’s talking about.

    But really, it must be soul-crushing for him to have his heart set on O’Keefe going to jail, only to get away with just a slap on the wrist. So he’s going to move the goalposts as far as he possibly can.

    TomB (67ef7f)

  27. EricPW – If the government could have charged and prosecuted O’Keefe for multiple felonies, why didn’t they? Your logic makes no freaking sense and you continue to beclown yourself over your pathological hatred of O’Keefe. Also, please elaborate on your prior claim about how he endangered national security.

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  28. Thank you to Mr. O’Keefe and our host Patterico for this information.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  29. EricPW – What kind of security was in place around the phone closet?

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  30. Seriously why on earth would an innocent man negotiate and plead guilty to something he didnt do or even intend to do and negiotiate for months

    Do you think he might have had other uses for the $250,000 it would cost to successfully defend himself ? You don’t recover your costs in a criminal case.

    Mike K (67e8ce)

  31. I think they figured right quick that there was no way they could get a fair hearing in ACORN central, so you take the loss and live to fight another day

    ian cormac (ee040c)

  32. I believe it’s simple. His comment about “in retrospect, a poorly thought out plan” refers to inadvertently committing a misdemeanor which he rightly plead to. When you have good character and a sense of honor, you admit when you’ve done something wrong (even when it was accidental). Good on him.

    Stashiu3 (44da70)

  33. Ditto.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  34. One is struck by the fact that Newspapers have leaked battleplans, officials like Berger has removed key documents out of archives, with only
    a slap on the wrist, not so long ago, Michael Steele’s credit records were appropriated by Democratic staffers, yet we are supposed to be up
    at arms, by an enterprising investigator actually looking for the truth

    ian cormac (ee040c)

  35. Speaking of guilty versus innocence, what was the bet that JD and I had with EricPWJohnson?

    I think I will go get some “evidence” from prior posts about the gentleman and his bet, since he is so concerned about evidence.

    What gets me, is that this guy shoots his mouth off, is proven completely wrong, and he just skips around continuing his nonsense.

    But then, why should I be surprised?

    Eric Blair (0b61b2)

  36. Okay,

    Did he or did he not formulate a plan that involved misrepresenting his group to a government official (the GSA) in order to gain access to something that they needed clearance (Permission) to do so?

    Then if so – then why is their this discussion that he was innocent and the materials proving his innocence was destroyed – he wasnt innocent – he plead guilty – I’m curious – why did a Federal Judge who reviewed the case make remarks indicating that this was indeed a felonious act?

    Why on earth for a confessed fine did he get 3 years probation? Isnt that excessive?

    This is not an attack on what he did with Acorn – those people need to serve the rest of their lives behind bars – this does not have to do with The Good Senator – she needs to fess up to why she sold her vote and why she shut off the peoples phones – this has to do with hidden cameras, and access to secure facilities

    Otherwise it opens everyone to be able in the name of free speech to do the same

    Not good, not good at all

    EricPWJohnson (cedf1d)

  37. Ian Cormac

    I agree that all of those people Schorr all of them should have very stiff prison sentences

    As should Okeefe

    EricPWJohnson (cedf1d)

  38. It’s not a secure area, nor a secure facility. You apparently have no idea what the term means. You get so invested in your own narrative that you become hysterical and irrational. You’ve done that on several issues which puts your credibility with me at imdw level. You keep asking inane questions and professing things you have no knowledge of.

    O’Keefe was innocent as far as anything you’ve contended, there was no felony committed and the government stipulated that. Stop moving the goalposts and just admit you were dead wrong from the very beginning. Paying off your bet would demonstrate some honesty as well, but I expect you’ll welch on that.

    Stashiu3 (44da70)

  39. Daleyrocks

    Ask the DOJ, thats what the Federal Judge was hinting at

    Sure they plead guilty but got 3 years probation

    For a minor misdemeanor?

    EricPWJohnson (cedf1d)

  40. EricPWJohnson writes “Did he or did he not formulate a plan that involved misrepresenting his group to a government official (the GSA) in order to gain access to something that they needed clearance (Permission) to do so?

    Permission =/= “clearance” .

    Basically, again you repeat a claim regarding O’Keefe that is rebutted by the agreement with the US Attorney that Patterico has quoted. Why do you keep doing this? What motivation do you have to keep ignoring the recitation of facts signed by the US Attorney that rebuts your original fantasies?

    SPQR (26be8b)

  41. Still in limbo here

    ian cormac (ee040c)

  42. Maybe EricPW can guest post on this over at Bradblog.

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  43. so what?
    i mean…..what is of value on those tapes Patterico?
    the judge already deemed they weren’t journalism, but propaganda.
    just more fake-u-mentary for Breitbart and FOXnews to show their old christian white ppl audience.
    those people don’t need convincing, dude.
    and the MSM isn’t going to be fooled again.

    wheeler's cat (ed4ec5)

  44. you need to convince the rest of us.
    the MSM got spoofed by the ACORN fake-u-mentary, but they won’t fall for that again.
    Why does your end justify any means?
    Because you are demographically outnumbered and intellectually outskilled?
    Because the other side plays dirty sometimes?
    Two wrongs don’t make a right.
    What about honor and journalistic integrity?

    wheeler's cat (ed4ec5)

  45. LOL!!!!

    Its really something watching all of you defend a confessed and convicted criminal.

    If he were really innocent, he would have fought it out at trial… with those high-dollar lawyers that mysteriously appeared out of no where, one would think he would have had a chance.

    But he opted for the plea. Why? Because he knows he is a criminal, as well as a liar.

    I guess he just didnt have the same kind of “exculpatory evidence” which he was so careful to edit out of his posted ACORN tapes.

    As for the false allegations of criminal beahvior represented by his ACORN tapes, believe me, one doesnt need the California AG, the Brooklyn DA and however many other investigation to know how battered and unreliable OKeefe’s lame video “evidence” is.

    Outside of the fact that he totally removed the most important backstory from his posted tapes, there are a number of other glaring, and damaging inconsistencies… and like O’keefe did before, these will be provided in a media “drip”.

    As soon as OKeefe begins his next attempt at slandering others with false criminal allegations, ALL of that evidence will come floating to the surface, just to demonstrate how distorted his “evidence” is.

    More to come!!!

    Until then, enjoy your time with this convicted criminal and habitual liar, who not only ruined his own record, but those of the people he called his friends.

    ****But one last thing… you are not helping him by encouraging this behavior. Youre cheering him down a very self-destructive spiral, but like him, you are too blinded by ideology to see that.

    When he bites the dust on bigger stakes (and he will), know that you helped bring him to that pathetic state.

    LuvyBuns (59694d)

  46. The drive-by is back and repeating its long-discredited manure.

    As I have already noted, LuvyBuns, your tripe was discredited here by Patterico long ago. Go onto those threads and show the details you have failed to show here to support your claims.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  47. EricPW – The destroyed video has nothing to do with proving O’Keefe’s guilt or innocence, moron, it represents evidence of Landrieu’s mendacity. Seriously, take a breath and think through your comments.

    daleyrocks (2d9f9b)

  48. I think it is hilarious that lefties put out a view that he committed a crime, how terrible and self destructive. But the radical left is celebrated having spent time in jail for sit-ins, marches, chaining themselves to trees, bombing the pentagon etc. So a couple of guys on the right decide to do some similar work and they are really bad while the lefties that do similar acts are celebrated. I say it’s about time there are those on the right willing to do things to reveal truth and hypocrisy from the left establishment politicians and if that means spending some time in jail for civil disobedience, more power to them.

    O Smith (4c6176)

  49. “Because you are demographically outnumbered and intellectually outskilled?”

    nishi – LULZ! U n ur frenz thot the Times SQR bombr was Tea Partier. U need to start a 2 digit Mensa club for urself and ur buddies! LOL!!!!

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  50. wheeler’s cat, the MSM is not going to be fooled again? The MSM of Operation Tailwind (CNN) and forged documents (CBS) is not going to be “fooled” again by what? By real videotape, the unedited forms of which show that nothing deceptive was done despite the pathetic falsehoods of ACORN shills like you?

    The next fake story, just like all the last fake stories, will be from the MSM.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  51. Maybe if I post a comment, I can read comments posted after O Smith’s 735pm.

    John Hitchcock (9e8ad9)

  52. SPQR

    I’m still waiting for one of you guys to address the issue of Sonny, as asked on the accompanying post (ie, the response to Brad Freidman.)

    3 days and nothing. Then again, it was a holiday.

    So I’ll ask again– who is Sonny, & what role does he play in O’Keefe’s narrative? Its a very simple question.

    Your silence on the matter speaks volumes… but hey, its not like you folks are in denial or anything.

    BTW, you guys can drop the whole persecution complex. James screwed himself (and his friends) up. No one else is responsible for his stupid actions. Its appaling that you would suggest a campaign of persecution while defending this guy… ESPECIALLY considering how light a scentence his million dollar lawyers got for his criminal admission and his serious crimes.

    LuvyBuns (59694d)

  53. Luvybuns, the only thing the silence towards you speaks to is you’re not worth engaging. I’m not really interested in any questions you ask because you’re not here in good faith. Infer anything you wish, declare victory if that’s your goal, then go troll somewhere else for all I care.

    Stashiu3 (44da70)

  54. Luvybuns, the only thing the silence towards you speaks to is you’re not worth engaging. I’m not really interested in any questions you ask because you’re not here in good faith. Infer anything you wish, declare victory if that’s your goal, then go troll somewhere else for all I care.

    Comment by Stashiu3 — 6/1/2010 @ 9:41 am

    Indeed. He might want to use the time saved to take a literacy course, since the question he asks has already been answered on the other spammed thread.

    As mentioned there, this troll’s been more than amusing. Thanks for the entertainment, LuvyBuns, and fare you well.

    no one you know (196ed7)

  55. Luvy – You claim information was removed from the ACORN tapes. The evidence shows that both unedited video and unedited audio from those tapes is readily available. YOU ARE A LIAR. If you have any specific item that was removed from any of those tapes please produce it, otherwise you are shown to be knowingly lying about the matter.

    The ACORN tapes show clearly that the folks at ACORN were more than willing to help a set up a brothel with funds obtained through their auspices. But they did not get really interested until O’Keefe stated he would use the funds obtained through underage child prostitution to fund his running for office.
    Yes the ACORN people were very interested in using proceeds from the commercialized rape of underage Hispanic girls to fund Democrat politicians campaigns for office.

    And people like you have no problem with that.

    Have Blue (854a6e)

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