Fazzio attorney demands removal of another fed prosecutor - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Fazzio attorney demands removal of another fed prosecutor

Updated:
U.S. Attorney Jim Letten U.S. Attorney Jim Letten
New Orleans, La. -

The web-posting scandal involving some people inside the U.S. Attorney's office may claim yet another federal prosecutor.   It is a shakeup that already has cost Letten his first assistant, Jan Mann, and top prosecutor Sal Perricone.

Attorney Buddy Lemann represents Dominick Fazzio, who has been charged with embezzlement in the River Birch scheme.  Lemann wants Greg Kennedy, one of the main prosecutors in that case, taken off because he says Judge Kurt Engelhardt's newly-released court order shows that Kennedy knew about web posts by former Assistant U.S. Attorney Perricone as far back as December 2010 and took no action.

"All of this wreaks of garbage, and it's not coming from the River Birch dump, it's coming out of the U.S. Attorney's office,"said Lemann.

The motion comes a day after Judge Engelhardt called for a new investigation into Mann's web commenting activities, and whether it may have influenced the trial of Danziger Bridge shooting defendants.

Then there's the issue of whether or not Mann lied to a federal judge when she gave the results of her own investigation into online commenting in the U.S. Attorney's office, saying she knew of no other cases besides those admitted to by Perricone.

"In retrospect, he appointed the fox to watch the chicken coop, and that's a no-no,"said Lemann.

Court records reflect that Mann also said nothing when Letten reported to the judge that he knew of no other web posters in his office.

Judge Engelhardt's disappointment in the U.S. Justice Department's handling of the web posts is made even more clear in his call for an outside authority, a special prosecutor, to come in and conduct this new investigation.

As attorneys across town look to see whether any of the web posts affect their particular cases, the speculation about Jim Letten's future continues.

"This doesn't help and it's a shame his closest workers kind of hung him out to dry,"said FOX 8 legal analyst Joseph Raspanti.

For his part, Letten tells FOX 8 News that, while he can't comment on Engelhardt's court order, he's "Absolutely focused on continuing to fight violent crime, corruption and gang violence. We're not going to take our eye off the ball."

Congressman Cedric Richmond has asked to review the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility report.   That report did not find that Mann was making online comments, and sources close to the case have speculated that she may have lied to a federal investigator or the report may have been conducted incompetently.

Richmond feels more "dire" actions may need to happen to restore trust and accountability in the U.S. Attorney's office.   Richmond told FOX 8, "If I were them I wouldn't let anybody see the quality of that investigation, when the number two was doing exactly what you should have been investigating."

There's this from Senator Mary Landrieu's press office Tuesday evening: "While Jim Letten and his team should be commended for their good work, this current situation is very troubling and unfortunate."

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