The AP breathlessly reports that James O’Keefe has pled guilty to a misdemeanor:
Four conservative activists accused of trying to tamper with the phones in Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office pleaded guilty Wednesday to misdemeanor charges of entering federal property under false pretenses.
We all know that criminals who plead guilty to lesser charges are very often guilty of the more serious charges. That certainly seems to be what the AP is trying to insinuate by leading its story with the original charges against O’Keefe. Would you guess from this story that O’Keefe was actually exonerated of trying to tamper with the phones?
O’Keefe has always maintained that he was trying to orchestrate a conversation for a new hidden camera video, and had no intention of tampering with the phones in any way. What the AP doesn’t want you to know is that the government’s investigation confirmed O’Keefe’s story. The Assistant US Attorney, Jordan Ginsberg, conceded in court that:
In this case further investigation did not uncover evidence that the defendants intended to commit any felony after the entry by false pretenses despite their initial statements to the staff of Senatorial office and GSA requesting access to the central phone system. Instead, the Government’s evidence would show that the defendants misrepresented themselves and their purpose for gaining access to the central phone system to orchestrate a conversation about phone calls to the Senator’s staff and capture the conversation on video, not to actually tamper with the phone system, or to commit any other felony.
Again, O’Keefe was exonerated in court of any intent to tamper with the phones, or commit any other felony. But the Associated Press doesn’t think the reader need to know that.
And it’s not just the AP. Despite signing the document, Ginsberg tried to avoid reading the key paragraph in court. O’Keefe’s attorneys were forced to insist. And Ginsberg also left out of his press release the minor fact that O’Keefe had been exonerated of all the serious charges.
Why don’t the AP and the US Attorney’s office want the public to know that O’Keefe was exonerated? (Yes, that’s a rhetorical question.)
UPDATE: O’Keefe gives a full account of what happened.