O'Keefe, others' charges in Landrieu phone incident reduced

Federal prosecutors have scaled back charges against James O'Keefe and three other conservatives who tried earlier this year to tamper with Sen. Mary Landrieu's (D-La.) phone.

All four men were arrested on felony charges in January. But those stiff accusations have been reduced to misdemeanors, related to the suspects' unlawful entry of federal property, according to reports.

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The new chargers carry a maximum prison sentence of six months and a fine of $5,000, according to reports. All four are expected to plead guilty as part of a plea deal, though no sentencing agreement had been worked out as of Friday night.

After learning the news, Landrieu criticized all four suspects for the January break-in, during which O'Keefe and three others pretended to test the senator's phone system.

"It is clear that these four men deliberately deceived both building security and my staff by using phony identities to gain access to a federal building," she said in a statement. "Clearly they were up to no good."

Initially, FBI investigators believed the four men were trying to tap Landrieu's phone and process the recordings, perhaps for use in a video not too unlike those O'Keefe produced undercover about ACORN last year.

But federal prosecutors quickly rescinded those allegations -- earning them the ire of conservative bloggers, who felt O'Keefe and his colleagues had been unfairly targeted by both law enforcement and the press.