Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

"I'll Be Back" The O'Keefe-inator Promises After Sentencing Hearing

James O'Keefe, citizen journalist and stander-up to power, was sentenced in a federal courtroom on May 26 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Federal magistrate Daniel Knowles III accepted guilty pleas on misdemeanor charges of entering federal property under false pretenses from O'Keefe and his cronies, Stan Dai, Joseph Basel and Robert Flanagan.

According to a report by the Associated Press, O'Keefe and co were arrested on January 25, on felony charges for posing as telephone repairmen and entering Senator Mary Landrieu's office to "investigate" claims that constituents couldn't get through on phone lines to complain about the Senator's support of the health care reform legislation. The original felony charges of entering federal property under false pretenses for the purpose of committing a felony were reduced by prosecutors in a plea deal.

The AP reports Magistrate Knowles did not let the erstwhile investigative reporters entirely off the hook. In addition to sentencing James O'Keefe to three years probation, 100 hours of community service and a $1,500 fine, he had a few words of guidance for the "ringleader." "One of the things involved in being a journalist is you're going to have to learn to draw the line," Knowles said. "In this instance, you drew it in the wrong spot."

Dai, Basel and Flanagan each received the slightly lesser sentences of two years probation, 75 hours of community service and $1,500 fines.

Although the AP reports O'Keefe told the judge he regretted his actions and apologized for raising security concerns at the federal building, outside the courtroom, O'Keefe vowed to return. "What I do is I stand up to power," O'Keefe said. "I expose corruption in the back rooms."

Slightly mangling the metaphor, O'Keefe continued, "This is about sunlight, and we're the [sic] going to be the disinfectant."

The journalist did not take questions from his fellow reporters.

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