Two more veteran federal prosecutors are without a job following charges of inappropriate conduct in former U.S. Attorney Jim Letten's office.
A Justice Department official today said Jan and Jim Mann are both resigning their positions with the U.S. Attorney's Offce as the investigation into "Blog Gate" continues.
Jan Mann has so far not publicly admitted to anonymously blogging online about open cases. However, a federal judge wrote in a recent court order that former U.S. Attorney Jim Letten told the judge that Mann admitted to blogging under the online handle "eweman."
Her husband Jim is also a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Orleans. He has so far not been implicated in the scandal that earlier forced the resignation of long-time federal prosecutor Sal Perricone.
In a letter dated Nov. 20 to Judge Hayden Head, the senior U.S. District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Letten wrote: "AUSA Mann posted on nola.com under the name "eweman." As a result, she was immediately removed as First U.S. Attorney and Criminal Chief and the matter was referred to the Department of Justice's Office of Professional Responsibility in Washington."
Legal analysts say both Jan Mann and Sal Perricone could perhaps face a criminal charge of perjury over their alleged lack of truthfulness to a federal judge looking into the matter.
U.S. District Judge Federal Judge Kurt Englehardt recently issued a lengthy response to a motion for retrial for NOPD officers convicted following the Danziger Bridge shootings. The meat of the motion by defense attorneys was the alleged misconduct within U.S. Attorney Jim Letten’s office, including reported leaks to the media and the online anonymous blogging by prosecutors Sal Perricone and Jan Mann.
In his 50-page official response to the NOPD officers’ motion, Judge Englehardt excoriated the admitted misconduct by Perricone and Mann.
“Aside from the ugly tincture they have placed on the otherwise good name of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Court is also concerned that the activities of Perricone and former First AUSA Mann, both of those of commission and those of omission, might also constitute prosecutable criminal conduct,” Englehardt wrote.
Following earlier defense motions following the revelation that Sal Perricone posted hundreds of sharply-worded online anonymous posts under several handles, Englehardt brought in Perricone for questioning under oath in October about his apparent blogging about open cases. In his order issued this week, Englehardt said he had a tough time believing that Perricone was telling the truth.
“As it stands now, it seems clear that Perricone testified falsely in at least some important respects: first of all, his statement that no one in the office was aware that he was posting was surely false,” Englehardt wrote.
The judge went on to say, “Quite simply, no one, especially this Court, could reasonably find it credible that Perricone and former First AUSA Mann, while posting under the same nola.com articles, and responding to and echoing each other’s’ posts, were unaware of the identity of the other.”
Further, Englehardt wrote that he found it “inconceivable that Perricone did not know, at the time he gave sworn testimony, that “eweman” was seated only two chairs away…in the person of Former First AUSA Mann.”
Englehardt went on to conclude that Perricone’s testimony that no one else in Jim Letten’s office knew what he was doing online “is very likely false.”
Turning his analysis to Jan Mann, the judge wrote that his concerns over Mann’s activities are even larger. Englehardt noted that as Jim Letten testified to his court that it was “the “gospel truth” that (to his knowledge) no one in his office, and then-First AUSA Mann specifically, were aware of Perricone’s postings,” Mann sat silent in the same courtroom. Englehardt also pointed out that Mann similarly sat silent during Perricone’s testimony that no one else in the office was aware of his online activity, and the judge wrote that Mann was less than truthful in correspondence with the court about the blogging scandal.
Englehardt concluded by saying Mann’s future troubles include possible violations of the rules of professional conduct for attorneys, and that she and Perricone’s alleged untruthfulness could also constitute possible “criminal activity.”