Patterico's Pontifications

11/29/2012

The Untold Story of the Shenanigans in a Federal Prosecutor’s Office in Louisiana — and Why Eric Holder Should Be Asked About It

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:31 am

Wow. This order from the U.S. District Court from the Eastern District of Louisiana describes an utter trainwreck of federal prosecutors running amok, posting anonymous comments on the local paper’s web site mocking the defense during their pending, high-profile trial . . . and then lying to a federal district judge about it.

There are two points I would like to make about this.

First, AUSA Jan Mann is one of the people excoriated by the judge for leaving numerous comments on nola.com about a pending case and lying about it. Mann was quoted in the press at the time James O’Keefe was prosecuted by this same office. And at the time of O’Keefe’s prosecution, guess what she said?

Mann, the first assistant U.S. District Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, declined to talk about specifics of the case, but said there were are no ulterior motives with their case.

“We don’t try cases in the press,” Mann told FoxNews.com. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is motivated by nothing more than what we believe is to mandate and enforce the existing laws that were put in place to ensure the safety and security of federal buildings.”

We don’t try cases in the press — unless we do so anonymously, and then lie to the court about it.

I wonder if they left anonymous comments about the O’Keefe case. I especially wonder whether they left such comments on nola.com. Frankly, I don’t see how they could have helped themselves.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it . . .

Second of all, some of the commentary on this misses what is perhaps the most disturbing revelation of the opinion: the willful blindness of the Washington D.C. Office of Professional Responsibility. When J. Christian Adams (linked by Instapundit) invokes Eric Holder’s name at Pajamas Media, he seems to focus on the behavior of the two government lawyers who made misrepresentations to the court:

I will have more on this stunning development later. In sum, the Eric Holder-run Justice Department prosecuted several New Orleans police officers for conduct during Hurricane Katrina. During the case, it seems a couple of attorneys were acting very very badly, to the detriment of the defendants’ due process rights. Here is the opinion issued this week. It is worth a read to see what government lawyers are capable of.

I’ll grant you that those lawyers’ actions appear to be the most egregious described in the order. But it’s also worth noting the extreme skepticism that the judge expresses in DoJ’s Washington, D.C. Office of Professional Responsibility:

“It is difficult to imagine how this could have possibly been missed by OPR. . .” He is saying that Holder’s DoJ ethics watchdogs are incompetent.

But, of course, there is another possibility. They could be corrupt.

Either way, the inadequacy of the investigation is a fair charge to place at Holder’s feet. And I think he should be asked about it. So spread the word about this order. It’s an entertaining story about shenanigans in the Louisiana U.S. Attorney’s Office that prosecuted James O’Keefe — but it’s also a story that raises deadly serious questions about whether Eric Holder is trying to keep his unethical lawyers in check.

UPDATE: Thanks to Instapundit for the link.


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