Controversial Filmmaker Arrested

Stan Dai, James O'Keefe, Joseph Basel AP

James O'Keefe, the filmmaker best known for his documentary exposing problems at the left wing activist group ACORN, is now explaining his latest scheme to federal authorities.

According to a federal affidavit, O'Keefe admitted to working with three other men: Joseph Basel, Robert Flanagan and Stan Dai to pose as telephone repairmen and gain access to Senator Mary Landrieu's, D-La. office in New Orleans.

FBI affidavit on Sen. Landrieu phone tampering

Court documents show that while O'Keefe sat in the senator's waiting room, Flanagan and Basel entered the federal building in what appeared to be telephone repairmen uniforms, "blue denim pants, a blue work shirt, a light fluorescent green vest, a tool belt, and carrying white, construction-style hard hat." They then allegedly asked to fiddle with the phones in Landrieu's office while O'Keefe filmed them with his cell phone.

After Basel allegedly took the handset off the reception phone and manipulated it, Basel and Flanagan asked to see the main telephone system according to court documents. When asked for identification, the two said they were employees of a telephone company and had left their credentials in their truck.

A receptionist at Landrieu's office was asked how they were caught and told CBS, "Let's just say the outfits were less than convincing."

A source tells CBS News that the aim was apparently to try to catch Sen. Landrieu talking negatively about her constituents.

Landrieu's office released a statement saying, "This is a very unusual situation and somewhat unsettling for me and my staff. 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."

The men had a court appearance before federal magistrate Judge Louis Moore today and were released on $10,000 unsecured bond. A pretrial hearing is set for February 12th.

The attorney representing Robert Flanagan, Garrison Jordan told CBS that unlike the others, his client lives in New Orleans and he says Flanagan is unconnected to the other men charged. Jordan says he did not believe his client knew O'Keefe before yesterday and said, "I think some things were misrepresented to him, my client didn't think he was committing a crime."

The other attorney who was representing the other men charged had no comment.
  • Laura Strickler

Comments