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Top stories 2013: #5 Scandal in U.S. Attorney's office leads to new cop trial, landfill probe dropped

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The blogging scandal that forced the resignation of New Orleans U.S. Attorney Jim Letten in 2012 had major repercussions in federal cases in 2013.

A federal judge ordered new trials for the NOPD officers convicted in the killing of unarmed civilians on the Danziger Bridge during the Katrina aftermath.

Prosecutors also dropped the sprawling case surrounding the River Birch Landfill as a result of the scandal.

The judge ordered a new trial for five former New Orleans police officers convicted of civil rights violations stemming from deadly shootings on the bridge. U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt ruled that the "highly unusual, extensive and truly bizarre actions" of prosecutors warranted throwing out the officers' convictions

"The public must have absolute trust and confidence in this process," he wrote.

It came after lawyers for the ex-cops argued that prosecutors commenting on the Internet anonymously about the case was part of a "secret public relations campaign" by the government that deprived their clients of a fair trial.

Click here view to view the full ruling by Judge Englehardt...

In the River Birch case, the feds suddenly ditched efforts to bring a case against businessman Fred Heebe and others.

The abandonment of the case came in the form of motion to dismiss indictments against River Birch-related figures Dominick Fazzio, River Birch CFO, and businessman Mark Titus, a Fazzio business partner who previously pleaded guilty.

While he was never indicted, Heebe and his team of attorney's went on the offensive in the sprawling investigation against him and ultimately exposed the frequent anonymous online comments by veteran federal prosecutor Sal Perricone and First Assistant Jan Mann, both of whom were forced to resign.

Mann's husband, longtime prosecutor Jim Mann, also left the office, but the biggest blow to the office was Letten's resignation amid the internal investigation.

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