Discredited wingnuts lawyer up with high-powered GOP attorneys, downplay crime, go on offensive, blame the 'liberal media'
Latest public explanation for alleged crime quickly shredded...
By Brad Friedman on 1/30/2010, 10:19pm PT  

You folks do realize that James O'Keefe never actually wore his ridiculous pimp costume into those ACORN offices on those doctored and illegally recorded video tapes, right? But, rather, he was filmed outside of the offices wearing his get-up, while appearing as the conservatively dressed boyfriend of a hooker trying to escape an abusive pimp when the cameras were rolling inside the offices. That's just one of many deceptions O'Keefe carried out.

As one of two independent investigations of the incidents which clear ACORN of wrong-doing noted, this one by former MA Attorney General Scott Harshbarger [PDF]:

Although Mr. O'Keefe appeared in all videos dressed as a pimp, in fact, when he appeared at each and every office, he was dressed like a college student - in slacks and a button down shirt.

Since Crazy Andy Breitbart, who released the phony video tapes on his propaganda website, didn't bother to man up and point that out before, during, or after posting them, or while appearing on Fox "News" and elswhere to promote both them and himself, or even after the reports came out, you may not have realized that salient fact.

You may also not have known that while both independent reports, the other one by the Congressional Research Service [PDF], found no criminal wrong doing by ACORN, they did find that O'Keefe likely the broke the law in at least two states by secretly recording the videos which had voice-overs deceptively edited into them later, "in some cases substantially," according to Harshbarger's report, so that it was "difficult to determine the questions to which ACORN employees are responding."

In other words, the videos were a scam perpetrated by both Breitbart and his employee O'Keefe, who now faces felony charges that Breitbart has been tweeting his adorable angry little heart out over the last few days trying desperately to downplay. Who can blame him? Nothing less than whatever little credibility he ever had is on the line after all. No doubt P.T. Barnum faced similar circumstances as he plied his trade to the suckers born every minute. So do actual pimps. Like Andy.

But just imagine the years of outrage and endless repetition of the charges from the Rightwing media and their acolytes --- folks like Crazy Andy --- that would accompany four operatives allied with the Democratic Party, perpetrating a scheme to dress up as phony telephone company employees in order to access and manipulate the phone system in the office of a sitting Republican U.S. Senator.

Of course, it would be the Crime of the Century to the wingnuts, likely led by Breitbart, accompanied by cries of "What did Obama, Pelosi, Reid, ACORN, SEIU and Saul Alinsky know and when they did they know it?!" along with calls for resignations in disgrace because of it.

But when the "Liberal MSM" report on a very serious federal felony offense allegedly committed by four Republicans disguising themselves and attempting to interfere with the the phone system of a sitting Democratic U.S. Senator, well, that's just another example of the outrageously "Liberal MSM," at least according to Breitbart and O'Keefe's latest attempted gambit.

That's the embarrassing meme that the Rightwing propagandist and GOP operative Breitbart is busy Twittering himself to death in hopes of selling, as he desperately tries to reclaim any credibility that he or his GOP "news" outlets might have ever had.

Crazy Andy is angrily and frantically using the tried and true tactics of Republican Reframing Magic® in the wake of the felony arrest of his own employee O'Keefe, the dirty trickster, and junior propagandist-cum-failed-superspy. And given the rubes and dopes in the Not-Liberal-At-All MSM, it's likely they'll fall for it as hard as they fell for Breitbart/O'Keefe's ACORN video scheme. Case in point: The "liberal" New York Times is already running a fawning 2,250-word feature story on Breitbart and his gang of desperados in Sunday's paper. Can you imagine any such coverage of accused Democratic Party criminals like that?! And the GOP outrage that would accompany it if it did?!

But now that Breitbart and O'Keefe, as of Friday, have decided on a cover story (posted in full below), and seem prepared to stick to it and sell it, let's give it a look before it all falls completely apart, as it largely already has, even before I had time to finish this story which I got distracted from after beginning to write it yesterday...

Breitbart's recent Twittered attempts at spinning wingnut gold out of his employee's federally felonious straw comes in conjunction with his release on Friday of O'Keefe's first full statement since Monday's arrest along with three others Republican dirty trickster co-conspirators --- one, the son of Lousiana's acting U.S. Attorney William J. Flanagan --- during the alleged attempt to illegally interfere with the phones of U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA).

As posted on Crazy Andy's BigGovernment.com site Friday, O'Keefe's statement explains that his arrest according to an FBI affidavit, for having "aided and abetted ... in the execution of the plan" to manipulate the Democratic Senator's phone system after gaining access to it "by falsely and fraudulently representing that the [sic] were employees of a telephone company," was all just one great patriotic "investigation", O'Keefe informs us, for which, now that he's been arrested, he's learned he "could have used a different approach".

His thin explanation for the incident --- absurd on its face, but well promoted by Breitbart, naturally --- hangs on the notion that the Repub tricksters weren't trying to bug Landrieu's office, they were just there to "ask the staff if their phones were working" after some complained in December they were unable to get through to the office during the health care vote, when busy signals were the rule of the day.

It's unclear why they'd need a scheme at all --- which included dressing up as phone company employees, "manipulating" the phone the at the reception desk, seeking access to the main phone closet, and keeping one man outside in the car with a listening device --- to simply "ask the staff if their phones were working", but reasonable explanations aren't really required for this bunch of con-men, or the one who employs at least one of them.

Neither does O'Keefe explain in his statement what he had hoped to discover regarding Landrieu's phone system at the end of January, in regard to apparent complaints that some had trouble reaching her office in Mid-December.

His lame explanation for it all --- both before and after blaming the MSM for his own troubles, rather than taking personal responsibility for it, as an actual conservative might have done --- hangs in this attempted sleight-of-hand from his statement:

When asked about ["constituents...having trouble getting through to her office"] Senator Landrieu's explanation was that, "Our lines have been jammed for weeks." I decided to investigate why a representative of the people would be out of touch with her constituents for "weeks" because her phones were broken.

Uh, yeah. But Landrieu's representative never actually said "her phones were broken". The representative said they were "jammed for weeks". So O'Keefe's explanation is a complete FAIL in that regard, for a start, not that the tea baggers who've come to idolize Breitbart and O'Keefe, or the "liberal MSM" (who do so as well) will bother to notice.

There is much more that can be taken apart in O'Keefe/Breitbart's statement --- for example the hypocrisy of calling for the release of the video tapes he made during the incident, even while both he and Breitbart still refuse to release the full and unedited ACORN tapes months after that scam was pulled --- and I had hoped to do so over the weekend. But happily, Marcy Wheeler over at emptywheel beat me to it today.

Her analysis utterly destroys O'Keefe's ridiculously desperate excuse for violating federal law. It's short, sweet, and a must read, so please do so!

Breitbart has still failed to offer an explanation as to how it is that he should be let off the hook for what his employees do (he now enjoys Twittering that O'Keefe, who he's admitted he has on salary, isn't actually an employee, or some such falderal) and that O'Keefe is "innocent until proven guilty" (twittered disingenuously by Crazy Andy here, here, here and here) even while extending no such benefit of the doubt to anybody employed by ACORN, naturally.

ACORN, of course, deserves no such benefit of the doubt because, after all, they have the temerity to actually help millions of low and middle-income Americans legally participate in their own democracy, and other such GOP crimes.

J. Garrison Jordan, the attorney for Robert Flanagan --- the accused perp who is also the son of the acting U.S. Attorney in Louisiana --- downplayed all of it on Friday as little more than a youthful prank, telling the AP "You're dealing with kids." [Update 3/29/10: The link to AP's story at the NPR website now shows up as "File Not Found" for some reason. Here's another link to the same story.]

A "kid", of course, whose father is an acting U.S. Attorney. And another "kid" who is, apparently well-connected and/or wealthy enough to afford a Superstar Republican Attorney. O'Keefe, who is 25 years old (the others are 24) has now lawyered up with Superstar Republican Watergate Attorney, Michael Madigan. Ironically, Madigan served as the attorney to Republican Howard Baker who famously asked, as the ranking member of the Senate committee investigating Watergate: "What did the President know and when did he know it?"

But, ya know, we're just "dealing with kids" here, right? Nothing to see. Move along. ACORN may be plotting right now to steal another election after all!!!

O'Keefe's statement follows in full below, but don't bother looking for Wheeler's devastating analysis of it over at Breitbart's site as he's apparently too cowardly to share it with the very readers he's conned into believing they are receiving "fair and balanced" coverage of "news" and stuff.

Pimps like Andy, whether they're wearing the threads are not, turn lots of tricks --- and make lots of dirty money in the bargain.

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The "Statement from James O'Keefe" follows in full below. Marcy Wheeler's analysis shredding it, is here...

The government has now confirmed what has always been clear: No one tried to wiretap or bug Senator Landrieu's office. Nor did we try to cut or shut down her phone lines. Reports to this effect over the past 48 hours are inaccurate and false.

As an investigative journalist, my goal is to expose corruption and lack of concern for citizens by government and other institutions, as I did last year when our investigations revealed the massive corruption and fraud perpetrated by ACORN. For decades, investigative journalists have used a variety of tactics to try to dig out and reveal the truth.

I learned from a number of sources that many of Senator Landrieu's constituents were having trouble getting through to her office to tell her that they didn't want her taking millions of federal dollars in exchange for her vote on the healthcare bill. When asked about this, Senator Landrieu's explanation was that, "Our lines have been jammed for weeks." I decided to investigate why a representative of the people would be out of touch with her constituents for "weeks" because her phones were broken. In investigating this matter, we decided to visit Senator Landrieu's district office - the people's office - to ask the staff if their phones were working.

On reflection, I could have used a different approach to this investigation, particularly given the sensitivities that people understandably have about security in a federal building. The sole intent of our investigation was to determine whether or not Senator Landrieu was purposely trying to avoid constituents who were calling to register their views to her as their Senator. We video taped the entire visit, the government has those tapes, and I'm eager for them to be released because they refute the false claims being repeated by much of the mainstream media.

It has been amazing to witness the journalistic malpractice committed by many of the organizations covering this story. MSNBC falsely claimed that I violated a non-existent "gag order." The Associated Press incorrectly reported that I "broke in" to an office which is open to the public. The Washington Post has now had to print corrections in two stories on me. And these are just a few examples of inaccurate and false reporting. The public will judge whether reporters who can't get their facts straight have the credibility to question my integrity as a journalist.

...And again, here's Marcy Wheeler's response to the above at emptywheel...

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UPDATE 2/1/10: Our 7 questions for Andy, as AP investigates...

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