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Tag: Jim Letten

Column: New Orlean’s U.S. Atty. Jim Letten Speaks of Diversity and the Arab-Muslim Community

U.S. Atty Jim Letten/gov photo

By Jim Letten, U.S. Attorney
New Orleans Times-Picayune Op-Ed Page

NEW ORLEANS — As we approach the 10th anniversary of the tragic Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and continue to defend against those who wage their vicious campaigns against us and our freedoms, it is essential that we look forward.

That is not to say that we need not remain ever more vigilant by fiercely, courageously and intelligently defending this great nation. It does mean, however, that our uniquely American way of life and our freedoms must be preserved as well — intact and for all who lawfully and in good faith embrace it and seek its protection and freedoms.

I write this piece as an American and as U.S. attorney — and to fulfill a promise I readily made to our friends and neighbors in our local Arab-Muslim community. I can proudly say that the citizens here in Southeast Louisiana have displayed the best of the American spirit in the tolerant, highly diverse gumbo of cultures that is quintessentially reflective of America as a whole.

But even in the greatest country in the world, assimilation can often be difficult and fraught with challenges. Nowhere has that cultural blending been tested more than with our Arab-Muslim neighbors. The consequences of an ongoing global war that we and our allies have waged against terrorists have at times included a backlash often directed against Arab and Muslim Americans.

To read full column click here.

3 New Orleans Cops Plead Not Guilty in Post-Katrina Shootings on Danziger Bridge

6 More New Orleans Cops Indicted in Post-Katrina Shootings

new orleans police badgeBy Allan Lengel
For AOL News

The Justice Department Tuesday plucked more skeletons from the closet of the New Orleans Police Department, indicting six additional officers in the fatal shooting of two unarmed citizens and the wounding of four others in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

The indictment is part of the Justice Department’s ongoing effort to expose police officers who either were involved in the Sept. 4, 2005, Danziger Bridge shootings or took part in covering them up. To date, five New Orleans officers have pleaded guilty to covering up the incident.

“Today’s indictment should serve as compelling evidence of our unswerving and unconditional commitment to … achieve true justice for any victims of the charged killings, shootings and abuse on the Danziger Bridge, and the alleged corrupt cover-up that followed,” U.S. Attorney Jim Letten of New Orleans said in a statement.

The indictment further aims “to restore the trust in the men and women of law enforcement who do serve the people and honor the badge; and to make certain that no one should ever have to fear those whose job it is to protect them,” he said.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

New Orleans U.S. Atty. Jim Letten Recuses Himself From Phone Tampering Scandal

new-orleans-map-istockBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

New Orleans U.S. Attorney Jim Letten removed himself last week from the phone tampering scandal involving Sen. Mary Landrieu’s New Orleans office, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.

The paper said a press release sent Monday night to reporters stated Letten recused himself from the case because of “various relevant factors.” The release did no specify what those were, but indicated his first assistant Jan Mann would act as the U.S. Attorney for the matter.

The news release said the decision came a day after four men were arrested for tampering with the phones.  Since then, it has become apparent the incident was part of a political conservative prank.

To Read full story click here.

Looks Like Bush-Appointed U.S. Atty. Jim Letten in New Orleans Will Get the Nod

U.S. Atty Jim Letten/gov photo

U.S. Atty Jim Letten/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It looks like New Orleans U.S. Attorney Jim Letten, a Bush appointee, will be sticking around.

Reporter Bruce Alpert of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) said after meeting Thursday with Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. that he expects the Justice Department will soon “make clear that Jim Letten” will keep the job.

The paper reported that Vitter said the anticipated clarification about Letten’s job means “he will drop his holds on several of President Barack Obama’s Louisiana criminal justice nominees.”

Letten has the support of the state’s Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu.

To read the full story click here.

A Bizarre Watergate-Like Caper: 4 People Including Son of Acting U.S. Attorney Busted for Tampering with La. Sen. Landrieu’s Office Phones

Sen. Landrieu/gov photo

Sen. Landrieu/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In a bizarre incident that had a vintage Watergate feel about it, the FBI on Monday busted the son of the acting U.S. Attorney in Shreveport, La. and three other people for tampering with the phones of Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu in her downtown New Orleans office, federal authorities announced on Tuesday.

An FBI affidavit did not specifically say the men were trying to tap the phones, but some media reports did. But there’s no indication that bugging was involved and it’s unclear what their mission was.

The Associated Press reported that conservative activist James O’Keefe, 25, who once posed as a pimp to target the community group ACORN, was in Landrieu’s New Orleans office Monday when Robert Flanagan and Joseph Basel, both 24, showed up dressed like phone repairmen claiming they were there to work on the phones . Flanagan is the son of acting U.S. Attorney Bill Flanagan.

Flanagan and Basel then asked for access to a reception desk phone and the phone closet, according to the news service  and an FBI affidavit. And O”Keefe videotaped the two men on his cellphone, authorities said.

U.S. Marshals arrested the men. A fourth man, Stan Dai, 24, was also arrested, the AP reported, saying he was allegedly involved in the planning of the scheme.

Authorities did not say why the men were tampering with the phones.

Read New Orleans Times-Picayune Story

Louisiana Sen. Landrieu Tries to Get Clarification on Status of U.S. Atty. Letten

U.S. Atty Jim Letten/gov photo

U.S. Atty Jim Letten/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The question that has to be asked — and in fact it has is: What the heck is going on with New Orleans U.S. Attorney Jim Letten?

The legendary reporter Bruce Alpert of the New Orleans Times-Picayune has written a story stating that Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office “is seeking clarification from the White House on U.S. Attorney Jim Letten’s status, nearly a year after President Barack Obama took office and eight months after Landrieu announced that she wanted to keep Letten, a Republican, in place.”

Alpert reports Democrat Landrieu, the state’s ranking Democrats, should have a significant say in the matter even if the final word is up to the President.

And in April, Landrieu took the unusual step of recommending that Letten, a Bush appointee, stay on as U.S. Attorney. The Times-Picayune reported that recent aides were told not to worry– that Letten’s job is secure.

Still, the paper quotes a Justice Department spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz as saying:”Jim Letten continues to serve as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana without being re-nominated by the President.”

Go figure. It’s like a message from the Kremlin. You need a Kremlinologist to read between the lines.

For Full Story

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Says New U.S. Attorneys to be Named Soon

U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan

U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — The long awaited replacement of U.S. Attorneys around the country could begin soon. We’ll see how bi-partisan the selections are.

Josh Gerstein of Politico reports that Atty. Gen Eric Holder told the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday:
“I expect that we’ll have an announcement in the next couple of weeks with regard to our first batch of U.S attorneys.

“One of the things that we didn’t want to do was to disrupt the continuity of the offices and pull people out of positions where we thought there might be a danger that that might have on the continuity–the effectiveness of the offices.

“But…elections matter–it is our intention to have the U.S. Attorneys that are selected by President Obama in place as quickly as they can.”

So far, for sure, the only Republican appointed U.S. Attorney who is staying on is Patrick Fitzgerald of Chicago. That was a no brainer. Jim Letten of New Orleans has a pretty good shot at sticking around.

After that, who knows. U.S. Atty. Mary Beth  Buchanan of  Pittsburgh would like to stay. But that may be pushing the bi-partisan spirit a little too far considering her super-conservative credentials and ties to the Bush administration.

Some lawmakers are getting antsy about the issue.

Gerstein reports that Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) at Thursday’s hearing remarked:  “Many jurisdictions are waiting desperately to see what is going to be done. As we understand it, the protocol has been that U.S. Attorneys would hand in their resignations and would give the new administration an opportunity to make new appointments, we don’t see that happening quite fast enough.”