Tulane bans "guerilla journalist" after confrontation with Jim Letten

Published: Jul. 16, 2013 at 8:55 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 23, 2013 at 10:38 PM CDT
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U.S. Attorney Jim Letten
U.S. Attorney Jim Letten

New Orleans, La. - He's a self-proclaimed guerilla journalist who was sentenced to three years probation here in New Orleans back in 2010.

James O'Keefe was convicted of leading a group of four people posing as repairmen in order to gain access to Sen. Mary Landrieu's office in the Hale Boggs building. Their goal: to document calls allegedly going unanswered concerning health care.

"People say we created a new genre...it's called truth...it's also Latin called 'veritas'," O'Keefe said at the time of his sentencing.

Now O'Keefe has surfaced again, this time at the home and office of the man who convicted him -- former U.S. Attorney Jim Letten.

"It's always distressing whether you're a former prosecutor, a teacher or business person to have someone come on your premises," said former U.S. Attorney Harry Rosenberg.

O'Keefe and a film crew of five people were met by Letten's wife at the Letten's Metairie home, and then by Letten himself at his office at the Tulane law school. Tulane police escorted the group off campus after what was described as a "verbal exchange."

It was similar to a confrontation O'Keefe had last month at the office of the New Hampshire attorney general.

Rosenberg says he, too, may have been targeted more than 10 years ago by a different group.

"Somebody planted a shrine in front of my office when I was U.S. attorney, and the Marshall thought it was a bomb threat."

Though no formal charges have been filed against O'Keefe, Tulane has issued an order that bars the former federal defendant from the campus.

Letten said he can't comment on the matter, but when we caught up with him two months ago at Tulane, he said he had no regrets about any of his actions during his 11-year term.

"I have an enormous comfort level about everything I did at that office," Letten said.

But, apparently, James O'Keefe sees it differently.

Neither the FBI nor the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office would comment on possible charges against O'Keefe, who is no longer believed to be in the area. The sheriff's report said O'Keefe complained that Mr. Letten prosecuted him for a "crime he didn't commit."

We have reached out to O'Keefe and his organization, Veritas, for comment, and have been told to "stay tuned."