O'Keefe sting footage from Landrieu's office destroyed

Rick Moran
Writing in Hot Air, Patterico uncovers a cover-up of sorts; the deliberate destruction of political dynamite contained in the camera phone of conservative activist James O'Keefe.

O'Keefe made a name for himself by posing as a pimp and stinging ACORN offices around the country with Hannah Giles who posed as a prostitute.

Incredibly, the footage was destroyed on the orders of a federal judge:

I recently reported that the judge in James O'Keefe's criminal case ordered the destruction of the footage of James O'Keefe's entry into Senator Mary Landrieu's offices. O'Keefe has confirmed on Twitter that the Government returned his recording equipment, but deleted the footage from inside Sen. Landrieu's offices.

What was on the video? Proof that Senator Landrieu's office was lying when they said their phones didn't work during the debate over Obamacare, thus denying a voice to opponents of the legislation:

What the AP overlooks, however, is what the destroyed footage would have revealed.

I recently published court documents in which the Government admitted that a member of Landrieu's staff had told O'Keefe's companions, on tape, that there had been no problem with Senator Landrieu's phones:

One of Senator Landrieu's staff members (WITNESS 1) told BASEL and FLANAGAN that she did not report any phone problems and that the office was not experiencing any issues with the phone system.

I'm interested in the First Amendment implications of a court ordering the destruction of a copyrighted work with possible political relevance - with no apparent statutory authority, plea agreement provision, or national security concern to justify it.

Patterico, a prosecutor by day, says there was "no justification" to delete the politically sensitive material:

A defendant's property can be forfeited under certain circumstances - if he commits a felony. O'Keefe pled to a misdemeanor. Surrendering the footage was not part of the plea agreement, which you can read here. Nor is there any national security issue in play; O'Keefe has confirmed to me that he and his companions accessed only the public reception area of Landrieu's office.

He also points out that the video would have been exculpatory in that it proved O'Keefe's intent was not to fool around with the phones but to elicit information about Landrieu's supposedly "jammed" phone lines.

It would be interesting to get legal justification from the judge for this action. Unfortunately, the judge is under no obligation to explain himself. Was pressure applied inappropriately? If so, from whom?

I don't think this story is over quite yet.


Writing in Hot Air, Patterico uncovers a cover-up of sorts; the deliberate destruction of political dynamite contained in the camera phone of conservative activist James O'Keefe.

O'Keefe made a name for himself by posing as a pimp and stinging ACORN offices around the country with Hannah Giles who posed as a prostitute.

Incredibly, the footage was destroyed on the orders of a federal judge:

I recently reported that the judge in James O'Keefe's criminal case ordered the destruction of the footage of James O'Keefe's entry into Senator Mary Landrieu's offices. O'Keefe has confirmed on Twitter that the Government returned his recording equipment, but deleted the footage from inside Sen. Landrieu's offices.

What was on the video? Proof that Senator Landrieu's office was lying when they said their phones didn't work during the debate over Obamacare, thus denying a voice to opponents of the legislation:

What the AP overlooks, however, is what the destroyed footage would have revealed.

I recently published court documents in which the Government admitted that a member of Landrieu's staff had told O'Keefe's companions, on tape, that there had been no problem with Senator Landrieu's phones:

One of Senator Landrieu's staff members (WITNESS 1) told BASEL and FLANAGAN that she did not report any phone problems and that the office was not experiencing any issues with the phone system.

I'm interested in the First Amendment implications of a court ordering the destruction of a copyrighted work with possible political relevance - with no apparent statutory authority, plea agreement provision, or national security concern to justify it.

Patterico, a prosecutor by day, says there was "no justification" to delete the politically sensitive material:

A defendant's property can be forfeited under certain circumstances - if he commits a felony. O'Keefe pled to a misdemeanor. Surrendering the footage was not part of the plea agreement, which you can read here. Nor is there any national security issue in play; O'Keefe has confirmed to me that he and his companions accessed only the public reception area of Landrieu's office.

He also points out that the video would have been exculpatory in that it proved O'Keefe's intent was not to fool around with the phones but to elicit information about Landrieu's supposedly "jammed" phone lines.

It would be interesting to get legal justification from the judge for this action. Unfortunately, the judge is under no obligation to explain himself. Was pressure applied inappropriately? If so, from whom?

I don't think this story is over quite yet.