LETTEN NAGIN OFF EASY?

Thu, 07 Jun 2007 16:33:18

The NOLA blogosphere’s lone investigative Zombie Ashe Dambala has yet another interesting post. It’s based on the comments of an anonymous reader about *why* the otherwise hyperactive US Attorney Jim Letten has left C Ray and his cronies alone. The information is unverified but it makes a world of sense. What follows is informed (I hope) speculation.

Here’s the gist of the post and my extrapolations therefrom: C Ray was a Republican until running for Mayor. His former aide and ex-Repub State Legislator Garey Forster (who also brokered the Couhig endorsement) spoke to Karl Rove about NOLA politics and told him that C Ray was the best Mayor they were going to get in NOLA. The upshot of this conversation was that C Ray has been left alone whilst they’ve investigated the hell out of the Morial administration which has the added benefit of bugging Senator Mary Landrieu. Landrieu as you may recall was elected by a whisker to her first term in 1996 and went through a Senate investigation as to whether her victory was due to Morial based voter fraud. A Senate committee chaired by John Warner (R-Va.) didn’t find any voter fraud and Mary was seated.
Back to Jim Letten. In the last few months we’ve learned a lot about how the Bush Justice Department is run. The US Attorneys who did NOT play ball politically were fired by Gonzo and his henchmen at the behest of the White House. Jim Letten who is a career prosecutor survived the Gonzo gate purge. He must have been playing ball on the focus on Morial scheme which also made sense from a prosecutorial sense: the Morial administration was rife with patronage and corruption. In short Letten could have his political cake and eat it too without becoming a complete Bush sycophant and whore. He appears to be a very gifted bureaucratic infighter as well as a talented courtier.
The recent raid on the LIFT production company offices indicates that any forebearance that Letten had for Nagin and his cronies may have ended. The Nagin regime was actively involved in the Treme film studio scheme that may be part of the Federal investigation into LIFT.
As I said at the beginning of the post I’m drawing inferences and trying to connect the dots on this thing. Dambala’s information comes from an anonymous source but it makes sense. I also don’t mean to cast any aspersions on Jim Letten: on balance he’s been a very good US Attorney. BUT career prosecutors are rarely appointed US Attorneys; especially not in the Bush-Ashcroft-Gonzalez years. Letten was in fact acting US Attorney for years after then Governor Foster’s choice Fred Heebe withdrew after giving everyone the heebie jeebies over allegations that he abused his ex-wife and ex-girlfriend.
Anyway it’s going to be very interesting to see how the LIFT story unfolds and how Letten’s office handles cases involving C Ray’s cronies in the future. Jim may no longer be Letten Nagin off easy.
Jeffrey and David have more on this story.

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