Chief Federal Prosecutor Jim Letten Resigns!!
This is just bad news to say the least, Jim Letten, as any reader of this blog knows, did more good for this city than any other chief federal prosecutor since there was a chief federal prosecutor.
Just how good is Letten? He nailed the Danziger Five, the Glover assailants, Aaron Broussard, and he was just about to indict former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin. That case will continue very quickly, as January beckons, and the statute of limitations affects the case then. He also successfully prosecuted four time governor Edwin Edwards and former state representative David Duke.
D.A. Cannizzaro didn’t catch any of those bad guys, and his predecessors didn’t either.
Letten is a Republican, having been appointed to the U.S. Attorney’s position by President George W. Bush. Nonetheless, when Republicans lost the Presidency to Democrat Barack Obama in 2008, many Democrats, including U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, took the unusual step of urging the new President to ignore partisan labels and reappoint Letten, which he did.
After the horrible actions of a few New Orleans policemen after Hurricane Katrina struck and the levees burst, it was Jim Letten who was able to convict these officers 6 years after the crimes were committed.
Here’s what I wrote in 2011-
The verdicts are in for this sensational trial. Five New Orleans police officers have been convicted in the deaths of two people and the injuring of four others on the Danziger Bridge in the days after Hurricane Katrina. I believe part of the soul of New Orleans is involved in each one of these sickening, horrific trials.
Once again, the highest praise and the most sincere thanks go out to James Letten, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana. He again nailed the bad guys and gave some much needed closure to the families of the injured and dead. Thanks for healing our collective NOLA souls, one bad guy at a time.
Why did he resign? His sterling reputation took a couple of severe hits recently when two of his team made comments surreptitiously on nola.com forums about cases that were pending before Letten’s office. His office is being investigated for misconduct by top prosecutors.
I do feel that Letten accomplished a great deal in his tenure, and has an awful lot to be very proud of. Possibly he sees an immense silver lining in his quitting, I’m sure he’d like to take a little time to see a lot more of his family. I really wish Jim Letten the very best in whatever he pursues next.