Republican dirty trickster to escape personal accountability...
By Brad Friedman on 5/20/2010, 2:54pm PT  

A federal judge gave a stern talking to this morning to the Rightwing dirty trickster James O'Keefe III and his three fellow conspirators --- one of whom is the son of the Acting U.S. Attorney in Louisiana --- for their attempt to access the telephone system of Democratic U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu in her New Orleans office, by impersonating phone company employees.

While describing the Republican activists' actions as "unconscionable" and "extremely serious," Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. stopped short of ordering a trial, according to AP today:

A federal judge had strong words for four conservative activists who initially were accused of trying to tamper with the phones in Sen. Mary Landrieu's New Orleans office, but ruled the misdemeanor charges against them can be resolved before a magistrate instead of a judge.

U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. said Wednesday he isn't exercising his right to hear the case even though the four defendants are charged with an "extremely serious" crime involving a security breach at a federal building.

"Deception is alleged to have been used by the defendants to achieve their purposes which in and of itself is unconscionable," Duval wrote.

In January, O'Keefe and accomplices were arrested on a number of felony charges, but after intercession by superstar Republican Party attorneys, the charges were reduced to misdemeanors.

O'Keefe is infamous for having worked with Rightwing media activist Andrew Breitbart to publish and disseminate deceptively edited videotapes of secretly taped meetings with ACORN employees in a number of their offices around the country. Breitbart, O'Keefe and his accomplice in the videos, Hannah Giles, lied to the media about the content of the interviews which were released to appear as if O'Keefe had dressed as, and represented himself as a cartoon versions of a 70's-era Blaxploitation pimp. In fact, he never did, and the shots of him dressed as a pimp were shot later and deceptively inserted into the highly edited videos as published by pretend "journalist" Breitbart.

Mainstream corporate media outlets such as Fox "News" and the New York Times promoted and/or reported uncritically and inaccurately on the videos which law enforcement officials from New York to California unanimously found to have been be deceptively edited and revealing no criminal wrongdoings by any of the ACORN employees seen in the tapes.

Nonetheless, despite a minor and begruding correction from the New York Times for repeatedly misreporting on the ACORN "Pimp" Hoax --- following more than three months of The BRAD BLOG's coverage of the entire O'Keefe/Breitbart/Giles scam, and how the so-called "paper of record" shamefully fell for it --- the publicity from the hoax led to a precipitous drop off in financial support for the four-decade old, pro-democracy, anti-poverty community organization, resulting in the closure of ACORN offices around the country.

O'Keefe was also allowed to escape personal accountability in California as well, for secretly taping ACORN employees, after he struck a deal to turn over unreleased copies of the unedited videos to the state Attorney General, for the first time, in exchange for avoiding criminal prosecution.

In short, ACORN paid a serious price for a phony political operation that was run against them, despite having broken no laws, largely as a GOP vendetta for their work in legally registering millions of low- and middle-income, largely Democratic-leaning voters. While the Republican perpetrator of the scam look to pay no serious price for either it, or his subsequent "extremely serious" dirty tricks in the office of a sitting Democratic U.S. Senator.

UPDATE 5/26/10: As expected, O'Keefe and fellow conspirators plead guilty to misdemeanor charges, receive light sentences. Details now here...