Joe Basel, will the truth set you free?
Nearing the two-month anniversary of "Louisiana Watergate," federal charges that could carry a hefty prison sentence still loom over Joe Basel. For his part, Basel seems confident that all will be forgiven as soon as the courts and public view the hidden-camera video taken with James O'Keefe's cell phone.
"My defense of what happened in New Orleans is going to be: just play the video," says Basel. "Play the video in court and let the jury or judge or whatever decide if we did anything wrong."
Basel and his cohorts have been filming hidden-camera investigations similar to the stunt in Sen. Mary Landrieu's office for years, many posted under the Youtube username "Veritas Visuals" (Check out Basel and crew's Greatest Hits on Youtube for more examples).
"We've never run a correction," says Basel. "We've never lied."
But the filmmakers' critics say they do just that -- lie. Lately, O'Keefe has been taking heat for the misleading splicing job on his infamous ACORN video. The video shows b-roll of the young right-winger strutting around in near-cartoonish pimp regalia, including a fur coat, cane and dark sunglasses. This outfit is starkly different than the slacks and button-up he actually wore while soliciting creative legal tips from the ACORN employees, but the point-of-view angle of the hidden camera makes this difficult for the viewer to notice.
Hannah Giles, O'Keefe's faux prostitute, says the duo never intended to imply that he sported the full pimp gear in the interview. O'Keefe's critics disagree. Even Stephen Colbert took some shots at O'Keefe for the editing.
Basel's next hearing has yet to be scheduled, so there's no telling how long we will have to wait to see what might have been intended as the filmmakers' next big hit, but we expect to see it posted on Youtube eventually. We're curious to see if the video really will set Basel free -- at least in the public eye -- or if it will take the same criticism as O'Keefe's ACORN sting.
We'll keep you posted.
Basel's conditions of release.
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