Thursday, December 06, 2012

Uhhh...Ok...maybe not....

Turns out to be a rather shitty day.

Letten leaves large legacy and looming cases

The other day I heard Kaare Johnson (WIST or wherever he is now) run down a list of the successful indictments Jim Letten has delivered to this area during his tenure and I was blown away.  The impact this man has had on attacking corruption in  the New Orleans area cannot be overstated.

I realize he has his detractors but for me I think his accomplishments far outweigh the negatives and it saddens me that his tenure as our U.S.  Attorney is coming to end in this fashion.  It also disturbs me to see media entities framing his resignation completely under the context of the commenting scandal while failing to mention, in detail, the enormous accomplishments the man has made while serving in public office.

I wish I could get Johnson's run down (audio or print) to post on the blog because I think every person in this city needs to see it and reflect on the impact Letten and his office have had on our community, particularly since the storm.

Jim Letten changed the game...period.  Did he make mistakes?  Of course, but in sum total what he and his office did for this community demands our acknowledgment and gratitude.  At least it does from my point of view.

For whatever it's worth, I thank you Mr. Letten.

Now I fear what comes next...some of the names on that list scare the living shit out of me.

And I guess congratulations are in order to Fred Heebe for a significant victory....at least he'll have something to brag about to his fellow cell mates.  He successfully created a vacuum but I wonder if he really is powerful enough to fill it with his own interests.

Update:  Perhaps I jumped the gun in my criticism of the MSM's framing....Nola.com just posted a partial listing of the heads mounted on Letten's wall.

UPDATE II:  here is the link to the Johnson commentary I was referencing 
http://wgso.com/?p=26086

19 comments:

Doug Handshoe said...

I do not think Jim Letten knew his subordinates were playing on the internet but in a way that says something worse.

Perhaps, in time, history will balance Jim Letten's accomplishments against his failures. That said I disagree with you on now today's news is being reported.

Chick Foret was downright brutal during his segment on WWL TeeVee 5pm newscast. Nothing like a good fight among the Harahan set to keep everyone interested. ;-)

Dambala - Jason B. Berry said...

You disagree with my sentiment that his career accomplishments are being overshadowed by the scandal at hand? Really?

Doug Handshoe said...

You wrote:

"It also disturbs me to see media entities framing his resignation completely under the context of the commenting scandal while failing to mention, in detail, the enormous accomplishments the man has made while serving in public office."

Today is not the day to list the skins he hung thus I disagree.

How many on Johnson's list were blacks from Orleans Parish versus white guys from the 'burbs.?

Dambala - Jason B. Berry said...

It was actually not racially biased in any way that I could tell. Are you inferring that Johnson is racially biased or that Letten was?

Doug Handshoe said...

There is a perception in certain circles Letten favored blacks from Orleans Parish. If Johnson took the time to compile a list I wonder how it broke down along those lines. I'm curious as to the answer.

Dambala - Jason B. Berry said...

I have never heard that. I don't think it's true in any way shape or form but I wasn't listening to the list with that bias.

Dambala - Jason B. Berry said...

http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2012/12/jim_letten_prosecuted_a_rogues.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

That's by no means a complete list but I certainly don't see a tinge of racial bias there.

Dambala - Jason B. Berry said...

And I disagree with you, Doug...today is exactly the day to list his accomplishments. If not now, when?

Dambala - Jason B. Berry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bruthas_back said...

Are Heebe, Broussard, and Nagin going to get the Ted Stevens delight?

Prosecutor misconduct forced the DOJ's hand in that case, maybe it will in these cases too.

Dambala - Jason B. Berry said...

Not gonna happen here...no way. This isn't about Letten's reputation anymore, it's about the reputation of Eric Holder and the entire U.S. Dept. of Justice. They either execute the game plan laid out under Letten or their integrity comes into question even more so than Letten.

If they have the temerity to force Letten to resign, they are left with the responsibility of filling those shoes and executing the prosecutions. If they fail to complete that they are not only perceived as incompetent...they stand the chance of being perceived as complicit....at least in local circles.

Of this, I am sure....because I'll be yelling it from the top of One Shell Square.

bruthas_back said...

For some reason I just can't wrap my head around this situation. WTF were the prosecutors thinking when they decided to post comments online?

Reputations aside, all of this turmoil in the USA's office can only help the defendants IMO.

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see how this shakes out with Landrieu. The political calculus is nontrivial. She has a bruising re-election campaign coming up in '14, and putting a hack in the USA office is not going to be well-received by a significant portion of her base in New Orleans. Just speaking personally, I'm quite left-leaning but I'd be willing to sacrifice the Democratic Senate seat if that's what it takes to get a tough-on-corruption USA here. I can't be the only person who feels that way.

whitmergate said...

I going to preface my comments about Letten’s performance as both an AUSA and US Atty, a total of some 27 years, with my disclosing a personal dislike of bullies. And make no mistake of this fact, Letten, together with the Manns, Perricone, Harper, Kennedy and a few others of their ilk, have by way of their collective arrogance and stupidity, bullied their way up the ladder, both within the office and outside of the office as though it was their personal playground to abuse the system of Justice; TO WIN AT ANY COST !!!

We all know BULLIES must be slapped down; not until then will their egregious conduct end. And at some point, those excesses of greed (Heebe) and power (Letten) implode. The irony in the present circumstances are Shakespearian.

A prosecutor’s (parochial, State or US) sworn oath is to uphold the laws of this land, and in defending the ‘people’, insure that the defendant is afforded a fair trial. It’s really just that simple, that the people’s representative in Court conduct him/her self both ethically and lawfully.

There can be no doubt that the excesses in political corruption and the corrupt practices within THIS US Atty’s Office are intrinsically interchangeable. A sort of ying/yang thing. (Think Coulon, Whitmer, et al of the JP playgrounds). The incestuous inter-relationships between members of the bar and politicos in the EDLA vis a vis families and friends is legendary, if not notorious.

I suggest most of Letten’s accomplishments are marred by outright lies, mispresentations, threats and a cynical abuse of SELECTIVE PROSECUTION. We need only reflect on Bobby Guidry being allowed to keep over a $100 MILLION for his perjured testimony in the Edwards case, and do not miscue, I believe Edwards is a corrupt politician who should have gone to jail. There are other more recent examples of injustice, such as allowing Whitmer, and no less Wilkinson, the dominant inside co-conspirators, along with Heebe and Ward in the criminal conspiracy to award River Birch an illegal landfill monopoly allowing each to plead to one count of Misprision of a Felony. And like Titus, what deal did Letten make regarding their assets? Hmmm ... I can’t wait to learn how much of the house Letten and his miscreat bully buddies gave away on those unwarranted deals. I could go on, the names change but the end results testify to the fact that this particular US Attorney’s Office is in need of a serious clean out of all things Letten and Letten's posse.

It is my opinion, Letten’s management style was characteristic of a combination of several TV game shows -- LET’S MAKE A DEAL + WHEEL OF FORTUNE + JEOPARDY ... and as we all know, a lot of bad guys walked away from the Letten show as winners.

Incidentally, it was I, who some three years ago, under various handles, including Whitmergate, began pounding and hounding Letten and his office about the fact that only two JP Politicians, Shepard and Bolar, who are both black, had been prosecuted for corruption in JP. And it was not until the indictment of Whitmer did the color of corruption change. And without the courage of a certain US Atty and two FBI agents to blow the gasket on Letten’s attempted cover up in the Hubbard case in continuing to protect his white politico mafioso friends in JP, we may not be writing about this now.

Along with any perceived accomplishments of the king, so reveals the underbelly of the beast.

No one is indispensable and we will have a new King ...

whitmergate said...

Jason, I don’t want you to feel that I’m pissing on your adulation of Letten, but did you really mean to write:

... “They either execute the game plan laid out under Letten or their integrity comes into question even more so than Letten.” (your quote) ... It is Letten’s unethical and unlawful game plans in prosecutions that lacked integrity, a pattern which should not be followed ...

and,

... “If they have the temerity to force Letten to resign ...”(your quote) ... WTF are you talking about? ... Letten is an at will employee who is appointed by the President of the US, and Letten’s boss is the Atty General of the US who runs the Justice Dept. of the US ... employees who fuck up should get fired, or as in this case asked to resign ... temerity indeed !

One would have to be deaf, dumb and/or blind not to believe Letten was not aware (or personally participated in for that matter), of the commenting machinations of his colleagues and friends he had aligned himself with for the past 27 years.

Letten defines hubris. And it is his unbounded display of hubris that history will record ... for the good, the bad and the ugly.



Dambala - Jason B. Berry said...

I don't feel like your pissing on me in any way. You're voicing your opinion and that's cool. I just disagree with you.

Anonymous said...

here is the link to the K. Johnson, Letten audio:

http://wgso.com/?p=26086

Dambala - Jason B. Berry said...

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Letten (and the people he answers to) need to protect their cases from even the possibility of a defensive ploy based on the chaos in his office.

It does not matter to me if people think Letten was great or terrible; I welcome the call to put a new man in charge right now, given what appear to be the facts on the ground in that office.

The new guy is from out of state, and yet was part of putting Jefferson away.

That seems like good news.

He does not have much time to put his stamp on things before the statute of limitations runs out on some of the Nagin cronies, or on Nagin himself.

I'm leaving thoughts about Letten to the side to pull for this new guy.

The list of local names floated as potential long-term replacements for Letten seems to piss a lot of people off; and I agree, any local, even a clean one, is not going to pass a sniff test right now, because people think the whole damn state is dirty.

The cleanest local would be raked over the coals as people tried to figure out who he or she went to school with, ate lunch with, slept with in college, etc.

A beauty pagent of local contestants might distract potentially disasterous local candidates from any attempt to meddle in the interim guy's pre-Christmas nightmare of a job, getting up to speed and handling a spreading scandal.

Let them give their "oscar speeches" accepting the gig in front of their mirrors, if it frees up the guy who actually has the job as of right now to get down to it and charge some people.

If he does well and wants it, he may end up being more than the interim guy.

If he isn't going to stay, maybe he can really dig deep while he is in town, with no fear that he is burning bridges in a place where he's going to have to get along with people for decades.

Thanks for your service, Mr. Letten. Thanks for leaving, too. And best of luck to the new man.

Some are pointing out that Mary Landrieu faces a tought fight soon. If speculations that she has some things she'd like to protect from view are correct, well, maybe. But it is voters who vote, and people across the board are sick fed up of corruption.

It will look good on her if she is ready and willing to sacrifice a few party hack pawns to really clean the Nagin era corpse smell off everything connected to her or to politics in LA.