U.S. Atty Letten releases statement on defamation allegations

New Orleans, La. - U. S. Attorney Jim Letten released a statement Thursday confirming Assistant U.S. Attorney Jan Mann used NOLA.com to post comments.

The statement says, "Immediately upon learning of the allegations contained in Mr. Heebe's lawsuit, I notified and maintained close contact with the appropriate U.S. Department of Justice officials in Washington, D.C. in order to determine the appropriate course of action.  In accordance with well-established protocol, the Department of Justice Office of Professional Responsibility was notified."

"Assistant U.S. Attorney Mann used NOLA.com to post comments.  As of Monday night, November 5, 2012, AUSA Jan Maselli Mann is no longer serving in the supervisory positions of First Assistant United States Attorney or Chief of the Criminal Division."

"Because this matter is now under review by the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., the release of any additional information by my office would not be appropriate."

River Birch Landfill owner Fred Hebee accused Jan Mann of posting inflammatory comments online about high profile cases at federal court.

It's the second top prosecutor targeted by Heebe this year. Hebee filed a civil lawsuit against Mann last week.

The 12 page defamation suit alleges Mann, First Assistant to U.S. Attorney Jim Letten, is the person behind "Eweman's" online posts.

The suit alleges Mann made the posts under the assumed name between November 2011 and March of this year; the same month former assistant U.S. Attorney Sal Perricone resigned after admitting he made dozens of similar online comments about cases.

The suit also claims almost two dozen of "Eweman's" posts appear on the same comment boards as Perricone's, some within minutes of each other.

Watch FOX 8 News at noon for more information on this developing story.