ACORN "Pimp," 3 Others Arrested in Phone Tampering - NBC New York

ACORN "Pimp," 3 Others Arrested in Phone Tampering

Jersey native implicated in plot to bug the phone of Rep. Mary Landrieu



    ACORN "Pimp," 3 Others Arrested in Phone Tampering

    The FBI in Louisiana arrested four people Monday, including a New Jersey native, in connection with a plot to tamper with phones in Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu's office.

    Among those nabbed was conservative filmmaker James O'Keefe,  the Rutger's grad who made waves earlier this year after releasing an undercover video purporting to show questionable activities in the Brooklyn office of the community group, ACORN.  The group provides federal housing assistance to the poor and runs voter-registration guides.

    According to, also arrested Monday were Joseph Basel, Stan Dai and Robert Flanagan, all 24. Flanagan is the son of William Flanagan, who is the acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, the office confirmed.

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

    Basel, Dai and Flanagan apparently entered the federal building dressed as phone company employees.  O'Keefe was already in Landrieu's office, the complaint said. At some point they all sparked attention and could not present credentials.  That's when the U.S. Marshalls were called.

    It's unclear what information the four were after in Sen. Landrieu's New Orleans office.

    O'Keefe has already taken a turn in the spotlight this year after releasing a video of himself dressed as a pimp -- fake fur and all -- with a prostitute in tow.  The pair approached ACORN field offices and asked about a loan for a brothel, throwing in their intentions to hire out underage girls from El Salvador. They said the funds would go to support a congressional campaign. An ACORN employee in Brooklyn was caught on tape explaining how the pair could secure a loan for the operation.

    Four ACORN employees were fired as a result of earlier stings at offices in Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

    O'Keefe, was a Rutgers University alum who once campaigned to have Lucky Charms banned from campus dining halls.

    His effort to expose ACORN in the undercover videos resulted in a criminal probe of employees, a repudiation of the organization by the White House and legislative action to take away millions of dollars in federal funding.

    The former Eagle Scout put grad school aside to go after ACORN. He and his 20-year-old friend, Hannah Giles, a journalism student at Florida International University, traveled to ACORN branches across the country over the course of the summer.

    O'Keefe had told the media:  "I'm still in my bunker producing more videos," he said. "We're releasing another video in San Diego right now. I'm focusing on doing what I do best."

    ACORN moved to save its reputation and guard against future "indefensible actions" by suspending key operations pending a probe.

    Watch the video of the sting in New York: