The affidavit does not mention that the men were specifically attempting to wire-tap the phone system, and their attorneys did not provide specific regarding the charges. If convicted the men could face sentences of a fine or up to ten years in prison.
It was not clear precisely what the men were trying to do in Ms. Landrieu's office, or what kind of information they were trying to gather. But an affidavit signed by Steven Rayes, a special agent for the F.B.I., detailed parts of the operation, which began about 11 a.m. on Monday. Mr. Basel and Mr. Flanagan entered the building dressed in "blue denim pants, blue work shirts, light green fluorescent vests, tool belts, and construction-style hard hats."
They said they were there to do repair work on the telephone system, and later claimed they had left their identification in their car.
Mr. O'Keefe was already inside the building and told a person at the office that he was waiting for someone to arrive, according to the complaint. It said he was "holding a cellular phone so as to record" video images of Mr. Basel and Mr. Flanagan.
Mr. Basel picked up the handset of the main telephone at the reception desk and both he and Mr. Flanagan tried -- or pretended to try -- to call it with their cellphones. Saying that they could not complete the calls, they asked to be directed to the telephone closet, so they could work on the building's telephone system.
Shortly afterward, they were arrested by United States marshals.
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