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Former U.S. Attorney Jim Letten Unloads on Conservative Prankster James O’Keefe
By Jennifer Koons | August 26, 2022 4:47 pm

Former New Orleans U.S. Attorney Jim Letten, holding a smartphone in his hand to film the encounter, berated conservative prankster James O’Keefe as a “horse’s ass” and used other epithets during a confrontation between the two in July.

The encounter was captured on video that O’Keefe took of the incident and released today in an apparent fundraising appeal for O’Keefe’s website, Project Veritas.

James O'Keefe (right) and his video crew confront former U.S. Attorney Jim Letten (left)

“Stay away from my family, you nasty little spud,” Letten tells O’Keefe on the video, referring to an unannounced visit O’Keefe had made earlier on that July 10 day to Letten’s home. “If you want to be a political … extremist nut job, that’s fine. Don’t break the law.” Letten also called O’Keefe a “hobbit” and “scum.”

O’Keefe, who specializes in often deceptively edited undercover camera work to expose what he considers liberal hypocrisies, had filmed himself at Letten’s door imploring his wife, JoAnn, to hear his complaint about being prosecuted “for a crime that he ‘did not commit,” as a police report described it.

In May 2010, O’Keefe and three other activists pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges that they entered the suburban New Orleans offices of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) under false pretenses. Wearing hard hats, tool belts and reflective vests, the activists had pretended to be telephone repairmen and were apparently trying to bug Landrieu’s phones. Their felony charges were downgraded to misdemeanors. O’Keefe was sentenced to three years probation, 100 hours of community service and a $1500 fine.

“I didn’t prosecute your case, asshole. I recused,” Letten tells O’Keefe. ”You were properly prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice because you improperly and under ruse … got into a U.S. senator’s office under disguise.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jordan Ginsberg in Letten’s office handled O’Keefe’s case. Letten’s recusal wasn’t explained, but he was friendly with Shreveport-based federal prosecutor William J. Flanagan, the father of one of the suspects.

O’Keefe - whose most famous work was an undercover video that led to the congressional defunding of liberal community organizing group ACORN - pressed Letten. ”Did you leak my emails to the press, sir?” O’Keefe asked, referring to the 2010 Landrieu caper.

“I don’t interview with you,” Letten answers, although the video appears to be edited at this point so it isn’t clear whether this was Letten’s response to the leak question.

“You resigned in disgrace. And now you’re dean of an institution, a law school?” O’Keefe says at another point.

Letten stepped down last December after it was revealed that top prosecutors in his office had been making vitriolic anonymous online comments about targets of investigations. Letten had served in the job for more than a decade, following his appointment in 2001 by President George W. Bush. President Barack Obama has nominated New Orleans nativeKenneth Allen Polite, succeed Letten.

O’Keefe posted a message at the bottom of the story, asking visitors to “please consider donating $25, $50, $100 or more to help Project Veritas continue to speak truth to power!”

Neither Letten nor O’Keefe returned Main Justice’s requests for comment.


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FORMER NEW ORLEANS U.S. ATTORNEY UNLOADS ON JAMES O'KEEFE: In this newly released video from July, Jim Letten gives a piece of his mind to the conservative provocateur who had harassed his wife earlier in the day.