The top federal prosecutor for New Orleans has removed himself from the case of four conservative activists arrested last week while allegedly trying to capture hidden camera footage in a senator's office, the Department of Justice said Monday.
A Justice Department news release said Jim Letten, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, recused himself from the case a day after the Jan. 25 arrests in Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu's office in New Orleans. Letten's top lieutenant, assistant U.S. Attorney Jan Mann, has taken over.
The news release didn't say why Letten removed himself, and his spokeswoman Anna Christman said she couldn't comment.
One of the suspects is the son of Letten's Shreveport-based counterpart.
Earlier Monday, the man who first published James O'Keefe's explosive videos exposing wrongdoing at community organizer ACORN came to the filmmaker's defense, claiming he "sat in jail for 28 hours without access to an attorney" while the prosecutor made his case to the media.
O'Keefe was "framed" by the media and the U.S. attorney's office, Andrew Breitbart, publisher of BigGovernment.com, told Fox News.
Click here to read the affidavit.
"James O'Keefe sat in jail for 28 hours without access to an attorney, while the U.S. attorney leaked the information about his arrest, helping the media frame it as 'Watergate Junior,'" Breitbart said.
O'Keefe declined to talk about Breitbart's allegations to Fox News' Sean Hannity Monday night, adding he was cooperating with the U.S. attorney's office and was pleased with the way the U.S. attorney was handling the case.
He said details of his arrest may be brought up at another time, but not now because it is an ongoing investigation.
"The panty bomber on Christmas was given -- you know, this guy's from Al Qaeda, and he's not even an American citizen, and he's given access to an attorney right away," Breitbart said. "I believe that this was a concerted effort, this is just my opinion, to allow for the media to frame the issue to put James O'Keefe in a very bad position."
James O'Keefe's methods might come into question, but his statement of what he was trying to accomplish, fits in with his pattern of reporting, not too much different than how he went "undercover" and exposed the ACORN scandal.
Choosing the same style of "undercover" in a politicians office, might not have been the smartest move, but in my mind, they are making a mountain out of a molehill.
The next point here is the issue of O'Keefe not being allowed access to an attorney.. that needs to be looked into and the U.S. Attorney stepping down after that was brought up publicly, is suspect.
I am sure much more is to come on this.
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