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ACORN scandal filmmaker accused of wiretapping attempt

WASHINGTON - The conservative young filmmaker who tarnished the reputation of a liberal activist group with his undercover videos has been arrested for allegedly trying to bug Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu's office in New Orleans.

Federal investigators allege that James O'Keefe was among a group of four men who created a ruse to enter Landrieu's office for the supposed purpose of repairing the lawmaker's telephones.

O'Keefe and Stan Dai, are accused of aiding the plot, while Joseph Basel and Robert Flanagan are accused of pretending to be telephone company employees, according to federal court records unsealed yesterday.

All four were arrested Monday and charged by federal prosecutors with entering federal property under false pretenses and with the intention of committing a felony. If convicted, Flanagan, Basel, O'Keefe and Dai face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Flanagan, 24, is the son of acting U.S. Attorney William Flanagan, who heads the Western District of Louisiana prosecutors' office in Shreveport.

O'Keefe, 25, became a conservative hero last year when he and a friend pretended to be a pimp and a prostitute while secretly videotaping several regional offices of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. O'Keefe then broadcast the conversations with ACORN housing counselors, who appeared to encourage the pair to conceal their purported illegal prostitution business in order to get housing help.

The videos led Congress to recommend banning all federal funding for ACORN.

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