Confrontation video released between Jim Letten and activist - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Video released showing confrontation between Jim Letten and activist


New Orleans, La. - A powerful exchange on Tulane's campus is all caught on camera. Former U.S. Attorney Jim Letten was confronted at the university by an activist who at first went to Letten's home and videotaped his wife.

In the video, just released Monday, Letten is heard saying, "Let me tell you something buddy, don't ever, don't ever, ever get close to my family again. do you understand?".

James O'Keefe, the founder of Project Vertias who is responsible for the video, replies, "You threw me in federal prison and your judge destroyed my evidence."

O'Keefe showed up to the university where Jim Letten now works to give him a copy of his book. after first going to Letten's Old Metairie home.

In 2010, O'Keefe was convicted of gaining access to Senator Mary Landrieu's office in New Orleans under false pretenses. O'Keefe believes evidence in his case was destroyed.

Letten recused himself at the time, but his office prosecuted the case. In the video, O'Keefe asked Letten if he leaked personal emails with his attorney to the press. It's something Letten denies.

After the confrontation, O'Keefe says he and his crew were detained by Tulane Police for five to 15 minutes. O'Keefe tells FOX 8 News, "I think the Supreme Court has protected the rights of journalists, the right of the public to walk onto a university property particularly because Tulane receives federal grant money in some capacity."

FOX 8 legal analyst Joseph Raspanti responds, "Of course these police officers can detain someone until they identify who they are, they have the absolute right to do that."

In the video, Letten is heard explaining to the officers how O'Keefe attempted to get his attention at Tulane saying, "He left a message for me saying his name was James and that he was a prospective law student and he wanted to talk to me about that."

Raspanti says even if this didn't happen at a private university, O'Keefe could've found himself in trouble. "They said oh because it's private property, he could've gone onto LSU or UNO's campus improperly and that would've been a trespass because he's not supposed to be there. He was there for the wrong reasons that he alleged," Raspanti said.

O'Keefe defends his actions going to Tulane and going to Letten's home telling us, "Nothing we did was illegal. Going to his house wasn't illegal. Knocking on his door and prompting leaving certainly wasn't illegal so the whole thing is an abomination."

Jim Letten in a statement says the actions of O'Keefe and his crew were intimidating to his wife and his staff. He also adds he regrets losing his temper while addressing the impropriety of O'Keefe's conduct.

The video taken at Letten's home and the exchange with his wife was clearly edited. We asked James O'Keefe if he removed anything that he said on the tape to Letten's wife from the video that was made public Monday. He told us he wouldn't answer any questions about his editing.

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