PJ Media was the first national news site to report a story of corruption in the Justice Department that has now led to the resignation of U.S. Attorney Jim Letten in Louisiana. The Washington Post finally covered the scandal in a front page story today. Yet the paper had not previously reported on the findings of a federal judge for over a week after Adams reported them here at PJ Media.
The judge found that at least two government lawyers had written anonymous blog posts on a New Orleans’ Times-Picayune website that attacked the defendants and their lawyers in a federal prosecution being handled by the Louisiana U.S. Attorney’s Office and the infamous DOJ Civil Rights Division. There were also leaks of grand jury proceedings in the same case.
Letten’s chief assistant Jan Mann was involved in the wrongdoing that the federal judge said was not only unprofessional and unethical, but may have also included “apparent false testimony/statements (by commission or omission), suborning false testimony, and making false statement to a federal judge.”
This matter is so serious that the judge sent copies of his order and findings to the Louisiana Bar Association for possible disciplinary proceedings against the lawyers.
There is no indication that Letten was aware of the conduct of the lawyers in his office or that his chief assistant was misleading a federal court. However, Deputy Attorney General James Cole — the number two official at Justice — went to New Orleans on Thursday to inform the federal court that DOJ was appointing a prosecutor to investigate the misconduct.
Of course, as federal judge Kurt D. Engelhardt had previously pointed out, the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility had already been investigating this for eight months without result, raising serious concerns “about the capabilities and adequacy of DOJ’s investigatory techniques.”
That says a great deal about the Justice Department’s ability to investigate itself.
We have learned that the Justice Department inspector general is soon to release an investigation into wrongdoing in the Civil Rights Division, including the potential perjury Hans von Spakovsky first reported here. When it is released, we will learn whether or not the DOJ’s ability to investigate itself has improved.