Update to the New Orleans Prosecutor Saga: Target of Investigation Discovers Prosecutor’s “Extracurricular Commentary” on Local News Website

Update to the New Orleans Prosecutor Saga: Target of Investigation Discovers Prosecutor’s “Extracurricular Commentary” on Local News Website

Jan Mann, a first assistant United States attorney in New Orleans (“essentially the office’s second in command”) has been “exposed for participating under an alias in the rancorous comments section” of nola.com, a local news outlet for the city of New Orleans. The discovery of extracurricular commentary has “imperiled the reappointment of Jim Letten, the longest-serving United States attorney in the country” and were discovered by a landfill magnate who was “an investigative target of the office.” The landfill magnate has filed a defamation suit as a result of the commentary.

Mann is not the first member of the office to come under fire for his online activity: just last March, the same landfill magnate filed a defamation action against veteran prosecutor Sal Perricone who eventually admitted to similar actions and resigned. The prior controversy resulted in investigation by the DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility and recusal from prosecution by the New Orleans office. At the time, Letten asserted the he and Mann, “did not have knowledge of, nor did we authorize, nor did we procure of have any knowledge” of the commentary.” “That is gospel truth,” added Letten.

One of the comments allegedly provided Mann stated: “Don’t you ever wonder how they get rich in public office? Not possible unless stealing.” “Letten issued a short statement, acknowledging that Ms. Mann had in fact posted comments and announcing her demotion from first assistant.” The DOJ has began an investigation into the matter. In the meantime, “several defense lawyers have already accused the office of prosecutorial misconduct, though the challenges have not yet resulted in having cases thrown out.”

For more information, see: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/22/us/in-new-orleans-comments-by-assistants-imperil-job-of-federal-prosecutor.html?_r=0