Federal Judge Blasts Letten’s Office for nola.com Ramblings!!
The shit hit the fan for Jim Letten today when U.S. District Judge Kurt Englehardt outlined his case of possible criminal misconduct by former federal prosecutor Sal Perricone and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jan Mann for lying over their involvement in the nola.com posting scandal.
Englehardt’s order strongly urges Letten’s office to appoint an independent counsel to probe what he called, “skullduggery by the government.” The judge also said the internal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Justice cannot be trusted to ferret out the truth about its own people.
The reason Englehardt is so furious at this time has to do with the bid for a new trial by five cops convicted in the infamous Katrina shootings at the Danziger Bridge.
Engelhardt characterized Perricone and Mann as online sneaks who posted biting commentary about federal targets behind Letten’s back and left him out to dry.
I personally think that the Danziger Five have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting a new trial based in the misconduct by Mann and Perricone. It’s a fishing expedition without any clear evidence that their trials were unfair in some way. Engelhardt stated, “prosecutorial misconduct in this case is a very near and present thing; however, the possibility of it ripening into grounds for relief remain somewhat distant.”
Englehardt said he “accepted” claims by Letten and Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara “Bobbi” Bernstein, who led the Danziger prosecutions, that they knew nothing about the online postings before River Birch landfill owner Fred Heebe launched separate allegations against Mann and Perricone.
Judge Englehardt criticized NOPD officers who took guilty pleas and testified against their colleagues, in some cases making clear he thought cooperating officers weren’t being truthful.
I cannot agree with the Judge here. No District Attorney or U. S. Attorney since Katrina had been able to convict these cops of their post Katrina atrocities except Jim Letten. New Orleans could never get close to closure concerning the Katrina cop crimes until the guilty parties were behind bars for the horrible crimes they committed. Jim Letten deserves praise, not scorn from this U. S. Judge.