At the risk of being seen as piling on: AROD speaks on the disaster in Jim Letten’s office!

Ashton O’Dwyer’s absence from the Slabbed scene has been the subject of several reader emails and I did make periodic attempts to contact him to no avail. O’Dwyer is known as AROD or Omega Man in the two state blogosphere which Slabbed focuses. Ashton was the subject of a criminal prosecution by US Attorney Jim Letten’s office that Slabbed termed a political prosecution as a matter of editorial policy because that is exactly what is was. You newbies that would like to catch up on one of Slabbed’s most read topics should click here and here (and strap yourselves in).

I mention all this because several readers know that something is missing from the latest disaster at the office of the US Attorney and that was the guy said US Attorney prosecuted on trumped-up threat charges so I said to myself, “you gotta get up with AROD pronto”. So it was said thus it was done. 😉

Ashton said to tell his peeps on the internet hello. He asked about ‘Gate, Lockem and Patricia and said to express his warm personal regards and holiday best wishes to Jan Mann, Sal Perricone and Greg Kennedy.

He has taken some time away for himself and I think that is a good thing. When the time is right he says he’ll stop in and say hi personally.

Oh sweet Lord do I have an update on Vandenweghe v Jefferson Parish!

We have video depositions coming soon but for those of you that want a literal behind the scenes peek at recent events in Vandenweghe v Jefferson Parish should check it out below the jump. Continue reading “Oh sweet Lord do I have an update on Vandenweghe v Jefferson Parish!”

Let’s chat about the next LAED US Attorney

A reader sent me a snippet from John Maginnis’ newsletter Louisiana Politics Weekly which discusses a short list of rumored candidates to replace Jim Letten. Here is that excerpt:

Several political sources say the short list includes: Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, Clerk of Civil District Court Dale Atkins, Judge Keva Landrum-Johnson and attorneys Kim Boyle and Ken Polite.

Yawn…….Oh yeah, here is an informed take that drills down a bit deeper into the matter:

The only person on that list that has a chance to be appointed is Polite, although he is young. He is from the USA’s office but not in the USA’s office. And he must be very close to Judge Brian Jackson (see Liskow & Lewis connection) who would have had the job, but for the Landrieu/Letten politics. Jackson is very close to Holder, so if Main Justice is pushing Polite then it comes from that camp, and not Landrieu. Continue reading “Let’s chat about the next LAED US Attorney”

Moooooving along it appears Boss Hogg may have his own “Beef Plant”

We have lots of relative newbies here on Slabbed and so I’d be remiss if I did not point out Slabbed was the Beef Plant blog back in the day, thus the post title, as economic development boondoggles are nothing new in Mississippi.  With the Solar pump in full swing I reckon it is no surprise the MDA flushed $26 million taxpayer dollars down the toilet up Senatobia way on a Solar plant that never produced a single solar panel. At best this is the type of MDA incompetence that makes you want to grab a pitchfork and head to Jackson and at worst, well in the Beef Plant case things got far worse.

Since we’ve covered economic development boondoggles literally across the entire North American continent, I reckon Slabbed will follow this one too.

Chilling Effects: “In case you were thinking of leaking to the press, think again”

In another stroke of irony, an article relating the events resulting in the dismissal of charges in the Ruehle matter was circulated by email to the attorneys in the United States Attorney’s Office on December 15, 2009, by First AUSA Mann with the notation: “In case you were thinking of leaking to the press, think again . . . A case in California was dismissed for prosecutorial misconduct after the AUSA admitted leaking among other problems.” ~ US District Court Judge Kurt Engelhardt

Well folks, being in Team Unwashed Masses has its benefits as Jan Mann and Sal Perricone evidently preferred Legitimate Media™ types for their leaking, not that there is anything wrong with that as rumors are swirling and the Wino, in a drunken stupor mentioned “the chilling effects” Kurt Engelhardt’s order is having on the discussion, even in the depths of the gutters at Lafayette Square. In fact, observing the social chatter in the local media congroovancy bears out that fact, due to the new 500 pound gorilla in the room.  Judge Engelhardt explains:

With regard to the Rule 6(e) issue presented in this matter, the Court has reviewed the Fifth Circuit’s guidance set forth in In Re Grand Jury Investigation (Lance), 610 F.2d 202 (5th Cir. 1980). In Lance, the Fifth Circuit discussed the analysis required when a district court considers an allegation of a violation of Rule 6(e) based upon news media reports. First, there must be a clear indication that the media reports disclose information about “matters occurring before the grand jury.” Secondly, the article or articles must indicate the source of the information revealed to be one of those prescribed by Rule 6(e), which prohibits disclosure by attorneys for the government. Third, the Court must assume that all statements in such news report are correct. Fourth, the Court considers the nature of the relief requested and the extent to which it interferes with the grand jury process. Fifth, the Court must weigh any evidence presented by the government to rebut the assumed truthfulness of reports which otherwise make a prima facie case of misconduct.

In this case, the Court finds that the first factor is satisfied, and the second factor has been met pursuant to Lance, which referred to the phrase “sources close to the investigation” to find an inference that the source of the information disclosed is the Justice Department, or the attorneys conducting the grand jury investigation, since they are the persons most likely to know when the presentation of evidence will be completed, and when a proposed indictment might be voted upon by the grand jurors. As to the third factor, the undersigned assumes that all statements in the news reports cited by defendants are correct. The fourth factor, which requires the Court to consider the nature of the relief requested and the extent to which it interferes with the grand jury process, is practically moot. In this case, the grand jury has completed its work and returned an indictment against these defendants (and those that entered guilty pleas to lesser charges), such that any relief granted herein would not interfere with the grand jury process at all. As to the fifth factor, the Court has not been provided with any affidavits or acceptable rebuttal evidence other than the tainted June 27, 2012 Report of Inquiry from former First AUSA Mann. The Report, however, does not contain sworn denials set forth in an affidavit, or any other testimonial refutations to contradict the prima facie case of misconduct. See Lance, 610 F.2d at 219-220.

Under these circumstances, the Court cannot rule on the defendants’ motion for new trial until the DOJ rectifies the present inadequacies. Prosecutorial misconduct in this case is a very near and present thing; however, the possibility of it ripening into grounds for relief remain somewhat distant. At this juncture, the Court is unwilling to find that Defendants have met their burden; but it is also unwilling to find that Defendants will not be able to meet that burden. In the meantime, the Court intends to follow the advice of Washington himself: “There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily.”

And this is why I happily get all my leaks from the gutter because we’re truth seekers here at Slabbed too and if we were seeking the truth in this matter, a good way to get to the bottom of things would be to ask the media where they got their information.  Even better, if you are an inquisitive type that sports a badge…..Judge Engelhardt explains: Continue reading “Chilling Effects: “In case you were thinking of leaking to the press, think again””