Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Busy doing lots of stuff

Just wanted to mention quickly, if you've been reading that Sal Perricone's and Jan Mann's online smack talking in NOLA.com comment forums might now overturn the Danzinger conviction, you may also be interested in the following.

Mark Moseley has written a pair of columns on this subject this month that are well worth your while.

I guess an interest in the overall benefit requires us to take Jim Letten's side in a cage match vs Fred Heebe.  That doesn't mean we have to like cheering for Letten the way... say... Clancy Dubos so often does.

But one thing Mark's first column does illuminate is just how disturbingly interchangeable the two men are. Not to mention how tightly their professional, political, and personal associations are wound together.*
You may recall that Letten made an unusual move in 2007 in support of Vitter at the height (nadir?) of the D.C. Madam scandal. Vitter’s cell number was found on the Madam’s call logs, and there was rampant speculation that Vitter was also involved with local working girls. Letten said that Vitter’s name never came up in the federal investigation of the Canal St. brothel case, which seemed to contradict claims by “Canal St. Madam” Jeanette Maier.

Now, during the prosecutor’s darkest hour in office, Vitter isn’t bending over backwards to support Letten, a fellow De La Salle High alumnus. Where’s the loyalty? Hell, a decade ago Vitter was supporting Heebe over Letten for the open U.S. attorney post! Who knows how differently Vitter’s career—not to mention the River Birch scandal—might have turned out, had Heebe been installed in that ultra-powerful office?
For the record, I'm guessing not that different.

Anyway, Moseley goes on to examine the online comments themselves and adds some speculation about which aliases Perricone was using and how many other insiders at Letten's office he may have been interacting with.

Also see the footnotes to those columns Moseley posted here under his own online alias.

And finally there's this thread where Dambala, Adrastos, Doug and others try and figure out what it all means. 

As I say at the top of this post, I'm too busy to write much about this right now but, very quickly, my comments and questions are:

 1) Is it really that plausible that Letten didn't know anything about any of these activities?  I've read the line about Letten's "lack of online savvy" repeated so many times that I'm beginning to see it as a bullshitting tactic.

2) How far does Heebe's hand extend into Letten's office in the first place? I'm pretty much convinced that Heebe's defamation lawsuit happened in the first place because he was at least tipped off by someone on the inside.  I can't help but wonder about what role Heebe's relationship with Perricone and Mann plays in all of this as well.

3) Same goes for the Danziger case.  If we're going to speculate that Judge Englehardt is "on the take" we may as well extend that speculation to the US Attorney's office as well, right?

*Note that the Letten-Heebe-Vitter, etc. circle extends also to Clancy Dubos and, of course, Garland Robinette.

1 comment:

oyster said...

Well, I wouldn't say "disturbingly interchangeable", although I like that locution. But here's a little nugget from the ole news bank that you might enjoy, before Heebe's USA prospects were submarined by allegations of abuse:

Heebe gets taste of U.S. attorney post

Times-Picayune, The (New Orleans, LA) - Saturday, July 28, 2001

Author: Manuel Torres, Angela Rozas and Martha Carr Staff writers

President Bush has yet to appoint the next U.S. attorney for Louisiana's Eastern District, but the office's transition seemed well under way this week at a corner table in a dimly lighted Terrytown restaurant.

That's where acting U.S. Attorney Jim Letten and the rumored top candidate to replace him, Jefferson Parish lawyer and businessman Fred Heebe , were having lunch Thursday. The occasion, they said, was social rather than an official transition meeting. Both said they have been friends for years.

Letten , an 18-year veteran of the office and one of the top prosecutors in the team that convicted former Gov. Edwin Edwards in a riverboat gambling license scandal, has been minding the shop since former U.S. Attorney Eddie Jordan Jr., appointed by President Clinton, resigned in April.

In the spring, Heebe , who is rumored to be Bush's top choice for the position, was interviewed for the job by the Justice Department. In June, the FBI started a background check to screen Heebe , according to some of his acquaintances who have gotten calls from the feds.

State Republicans had sent Bush a list of candidates that included Heebe , Assistant U.S. Attorney Constantine Georges, former Assistant U.S. Attorney Shaun Clarke and former Jefferson District Attorney Jack Capella. An announcement from the White House is expected this summer.

In the meantime, Letten said he was sharing with Heebe some of the directives of the Bush administration, such as its emphasis in making urban areas safer.

During their lunch, Parish Councilman T.J. "Butch" Ward showed up for a separate engagement at the restaurant . Letten said he had heard of Ward but had never met him. Heebe , whose mother is married to Ward's brother, introduced them.

"I have been following you," the federal prosecutor told Ward.

The councilman's eyes got big.

"I hope not too close," Ward said, and then relaxed when Letten smiled.