Just recently, we found out more about the depth of the corruption in now-disgraced former-U.S. Attorney Jim Letten’s office. Letten was the prosecutor in my case – where I was accused of trumped-up charges that were leaked to the press. During the fight over Obamacare, then-Senator Mary Landrieu was complaining that her phones were ringing off the hook regarding passage of Obamacare. We knew that there was nothing wrong with Senator Landrieu’s phones, so we wanted to get her staff on camera admitting it. We went to her office dressed as telecommunication workers, asking her staff to point us to the direction of her “broken” phones. That was it.
And then the press stories began. According to the press, we had been arrested for “trying to illegally tap a Senator’s phones.” Not true. But the media narrative was set and the story grew, fueled by leaks and online comments on the message boards at nola.com, the online home of the largest newspaper in Louisiana, the Times-Picayune.
We now know that this wasn’t just a one-time attempt to discredit me by planting lies about my case, it was an institutional policy in Jim Letten’s office – using leaks and anonymous “sock-puppet” commenters to prejudice public opinion against their political targets.
A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals just affirmed the decision to toss out the convictions in another case where Jim Letten’s office had used illegal leaks and commenters to influence public opinion – and potential jurors – in the high-profile, politicized case of the five New Orleans police officers convicted of shooting six civilians at the Danziger Bridge during Hurricane Katrina. The judge who made the initial decision to toss out the convictions cited “grotesque prosecutorial misconduct” by Jim Letten’s office.
The New Orleans Advocate noted on August 20, 2015:
And the judges wonder aloud whether the extent of the prosecutorial misconduct has even been plumbed. “From the state of this record … neither we nor the defendants can know who all the commenters were, how many online comments were attributable to biased and vindictive federal government employees acting outside the bounds of their ethical duties, and thus the full impact of the misconduct,” they wrote.
As we found out in 2014, Letten did the same thing to me. We have a pretty good idea just how deep the prosecutorial misconduct and corruption went. We were victimized by the same corrupt U.S. Attorney and his willing deputies. It’s reassuring to see his corruption exposed and additional truth brought to light.
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