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Posts Tagged ‘Felony Charges’

Vindication: Felony Charges Against ACORN-killer James O’Keefe Dropped by Feds

Friday, March 26th, 2010

James O'Keefe, seen here with Hannah Giles, Became Famous by Exposing ACORN's Horrible Business Practices and Today Gained Vindication as All Felony Charges against him were dropped regarding his silly attempt to gain access to Sen. Mary Landrieu's (D-LA) office to prove she was ignoring constituent phone calls regarding Obamacare

In a quiet filing late on a Friday afternoon, federal prosecutors dropped all felony charges against James O’Keefe and several other conservative activists who were charged originally with felonies for their silly attempt to prove that the Louisiana office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) was not answering the phone calls of their constituents:

Federal prosecutors filed reduced charges Friday against conservative activist James O’Keefe and three others who were accused of trying to tamper with the phones in Sen. Mary Landrieu’s New Orleans office.

The new charges are contained in a bill of information, which can only be filed with a defendant’s consent and typically signals a plea deal. The new filing charges videographer the four with entering a federal building under false pretenses, a misdemeanor. They had been arrested Jan. 25 on felony charges.

O’Keefe, a videographer famous for wearing a pimp costume in a stunt that embarrassed the ACORN community organizing group, has said the group was trying to investigate complaints that constituents calling Landrieu’s office couldn’t get through to criticize her support of a health care reform bill.

J. Garrison Jordan, a lawyer for another defendant, Robert Flanagan, said his client has “an agreement worked out with the government” but wouldn’t elaborate or confirm that the others also have reached a deal with prosecutors.

“I think it’s a fair resolution to the charges, and I’m happy with the agreement we’ve worked out,” he said.

The establishment media, led by NBC and its daytime host David Shuster, falsely claimed O’Keefe was engaged in a Watergate-style operation after his arrest:

All four men were charged with entering federal property under false pretenses with the intent of committing a felony.

It sounded like a Watergate-style operation, but federal officials have not yet said why the men wanted to interfere with Landrieu’s phones, whether they were successful, or even if the goal was political espionage.

O’Keefe himself at the time had this to say:

O’Keefe said, “The truth shall set me free,” as he left a suburban jail Tuesday with Basel and suspect Stan Dai, both 24. All declined to comment. “There will be a time for that,” Dai said.

Some particularly idiotic radical leftist commentary after the January 2010 O’Keefe arrest came from Michael Wolff, speaking darkly of “aggressive prosecutors” taking down Glenn Beck for his claimed sponsoring of the allegedly heinous crimes of O’Keefe:

There are the perpetrators, the four young men who attempted to get access to the telephone system of Mary Landrieu, the Democratic senator from Louisiana. Then there is whomever else can be connected to them, by cell phone records, text messages, or email.

These are the little fish. Somewhere, at some remove, with some level of foreknowledge—with enough deniability or not—are the big fish.

The Times’ front page piece yesterday, with the thumbnails of the four perps, says little—save that O’Keefe and company were right-wing hot dogs—but is full of anticipation. The Times knows well enough that a break-in, one full of theatrical verve, is unlikely to have happened in a vacuum. Indeed, the subtext of the Times piece is all about James O’Keefe’s impressive conservative network.

It’s a network full of high-profile mentors. After O’Keefe’s audacious bit of political theater exposing the haplessness or recklessness of some functionaries at the liberal group, Acorn—a popular bête noire among conservatives—he was immediately and enthusiastically taken up by the right-wing media.

The right-wing media is an insular but curiously convivial group. It loves its fellow travelers. It loves other right-leaning attention seekers. This is a club for the ideologically pure who are media savvy. The Times piece sketches out some of these connections, including O’Keefe’s relationship with Andrew Breitbart, who is in turn connected to Matt Drudge.

The Times does not explicitly draw in Glenn Beck, but the Fox host has done as much as anyone to promote O’Keefe as an example of right-wing talent and personality. The day after the bust, Beck was hurriedly trying to disassociate himself.

Depending on the aggressiveness of the prosecutors involved, we will find out who O’Keefe and company were speaking to. We will find out who was urging O’Keefe on, who O’Keefe was bragging to, and how far up the media chain this really goes.

Obviously, leftwing hacks like NBC, Schuster, Michael Wolff and the NYT were completely wrong on this story.

All told, the massive establishment media focus on this case, and the ridiculous media claims that O’Keefe should be jailed for a decade and that his actions were comparable to Watergate, have been proven false. It appears that O’Keefe and the others involved will now plead guilty to a misdemeanour charge of entering a federal building under false pretenses. This plea deal is appropriate, as O’Keefe and the others were doing exactly that by pretending to be telephone company workers in furtherance of their silly scheme to prove Landrieu was intentionally ignoring constituent phone calls over Obamacare.

UPDATE: Hotair points out more of the prior false MSNBC reporting on O’Keefe, now fully debunked today:

Commenters are wondering in the Headlines thread when Edward R. Murrow’s rightful heir will apologize for calling this a new Watergate or ace reporter David Shuster will walk back his tweets to O’Keefe right after the story first broke in January that “a) you are not a journalist b) the truth is you intended to tap her phones c) it’s a felony d) you will go to prison.” (0 for 4!) Answer: Shuster already did, sort of, but I wouldn’t look for any more remorse than that from MSNBC. The new storyline, guaranteed, will be that O’Keefe got a break because one of the kids in his crew is the son of the acting U.S. Attorney for Western Louisiana. Never mind that there have already been recusals in the case to avoid any conflict of interest; the “corrupt wingnut” narrative shall not be denied. Long live “Watergate Jr.”!

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FBI: Former Detroit Democratic Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick Received at Least a Hundred Thousand in Cash Bribes, New Charges Coming Soon

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

In this May 7, 2007 file photo, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obaa acknowledges the crowd after being introduced by former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick at the Detroit Economic Club in Detroit, where Obama praised Kilpatrick as "a great mayor." President Obama's past praise and support of Kilpatrick may come under renewed scrutiny as the FBI and federal prosecutors prepare new bribery, corruption and perhaps racketeering charges against Kilpatrick (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

Late Sunday evening, the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News reported that federal authorities have obtained testimony of approximately $100,000.00 direct cash bribes paid to former Detroit Democratic Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, with hundreds of thousands more in cash bribes going to Kwame’s father and associates, from city contractors. Federal officials also informed the Detroit News that federal charges are planned for Kilpatrick and his father. For Michigan Democrats, who are already facing a difficult political environment, the prospect of new federal criminal charges against the well-known Democrat Kilpatrick in the lead up to the November 2010 is chilling as such charges would feed the GOP’s corruption narrative regarding Democratic governance. Today’s leaks from the FBI mark the first time that federal officials have confirmed that charges are forthcoming against Kilpatrick. The Detroit News provides a brief synopsis:

Detroit — Federal officials are preparing felony charges against former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his father, business consultant Bernard N. Kilpatrick, The Detroit News has learned.

For at least five years, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office have been investigating an alleged “pay to play” system at City Hall under Kilpatrick and allegations that contractors wanting City Hall business were directed to hire the former mayor’s father as a consultant.

Now there are new allegations that former Cobo Center contractor Karl Kado, who has been cooperating with the FBI since 2005, not only paid close to $300,000 to the mayor’s father but made about $100,000 in illegal cash payments directly to the former mayor.

Those allegations are contained in sworn statements that are part of the evidence in the wide-ranging corruption probe, a person familiar with the investigation said Sunday. Charges are expected against both Kwame Kilpatrick and his father, though the timing and specific nature of those charges are still being determined, the source said.

It’s the first time a source close to the investigation has said corruption charges against the former mayor are planned, though there have been strong signals Kilpatrick was the ultimate target of a long-running investigation that has netted nine guilty pleas.

A federal grand jury has subpoenaed records and testimony related to possible abuses in fundraising and expenditures connected with the former mayor’s nonprofit foundation, the Kilpatrick Civic Fund, and possible felony income tax violations are being examined, people familiar with the investigation said.

Obama’s past political ties with Kilpatrick, including Obama’s 2007 speech at the Detroit Economic Club where Obama praised Kilpatrick, on video, as “a great mayor,” could come under renewed scrutiny as the more salacious charges against Kilpatrick are publicly disclosed in the near future. For Michigan Democratic Congressional incumbents, most of which worked closely with Kilpatrick and campaigned with him, the likely new charges will further darken the electoral outlook for November 2010. The Detroit Free Press summarized the new disclosures by federal authorities regarding Kilpatrick’s “pay to play” scheme:

Authorities describe a variety of alleged bribes and extortion demands during Kilpatrick’s years in office that, when taken together, could amount to racketeering violations under federal law. Allegations cited in government documents and culled from interviews include:

• That Kwame Kilpatrick accepted bribes of up to $100,000 from Kado, a businessman who had exclusive, no-bid janitorial and electrical-services contracts at Cobo Center and a sundry shop at the convention hall.

• That Kilpatrick deposited unspecified sums of cash into bank accounts without declaring the funds as income.

• That Bernard Kilpatrick received large amounts of money from contractors and business owners in return for official acts by the mayor; and that he pressured others to donate to his son’s political or civic fund.

• That Kado paid at least $30,000 in bribes to mayoral aide Derrick Miller, including $10,000 for a trip to Europe.

• That Miller told a local businessman he would be punished for backing a political opponent when Kilpatrick sought re-election. Shortly afterward, the businessman’s commercial vehicles started getting ticketed in Detroit — with the directive to do so allegedly coming from the mayor’s office.

FBI agents have said they believe these activities and others constitute a criminal enterprise — wording that indicates the government is trying to build a case under the Federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, which has been used to prosecute a pattern of crimes by public officials, Wall Street swindlers and, most notably, Mafia families.

Back in September 2008, many thought that Kilpatrick’s time in the sights of prosecutors was over when he agreed to resign from his position as Mayor of Detroit as part of a plea deal related to the cover up of an extramarital affair with a staffer. Indeed, after his plea deal, Kilpatrick served his time and moved on to a new job as “an account executive for Compuware Covisint, a subsidiary of Detroit-based software company Compuware Corp., concentrating on the health care industry, the Detroit Free Press reported, citing a company memo.” Compuware Corp.’s principal, Peter Karmanos, was a strong financial and political backer of Kilpatrick, including a gaudy “$100,000 to Kilpatrick’s Generations political action committee in October 2005, the single largest donation.”

Since Kilpatrick’s release on February 4, 2009, Kilpatrick has worked in Texas for Karmanos and has been public about his wealthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, Kilpatrick was not made the agreed-upon restitution payments to the City of Detroit as of Friday’s deadline, and a Michigan judge could order Kilpatrick jailed for his violation of these terms of his probation as soon as next week according to the Washington Post. With the possibility of new federal charges looming in the near future, and the probable issuance of an arrest warrant next week for probation violations, Kwame Kilpatrick’s days in the media spotlight look certain to grow, much to the chagrin of Michigan Democrats and President Obama.

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