“The worst may be yet to come”: A playing on the internet disaster update

Nowdy sends the following link:

Plenty of Misconduct, and 129 Pages of One Judge’s Disbelief ~ Joe Sexton, Part of ProPublica’s continuing Law & Disorder series on the post Katrina NOPD

And a portion of her comment that struck a chord with me:

Very close to your story

What she is talking about is how Slabbed framed this story. Media bias, yes there is such a thing as cognitive bias is inherent to the human condition, is seen in how various stories are framed. Nowdy well remembers the story of Jamie Perdigao and his tie up with Team Letten and I am pleased to see some of our newer readers taking time to follow the links to that 2008 story from the posts I have brought up from the archives over the past few days. In my opinion it was one of the first public manifestations of problems at Team Letten though I’d be remiss not mentioning the good folks at Patterico’s Pontifications, who have done some excellent work on the topic. More on them in a second.

Back to the post title because I agree with Judge Engelhardt that the worst may be yet to come on this whole prosecutorial misconduct scandal. The persistent rumors of a third DoJ internet commenter proved true but there are also persistent rumors of certain problems at the FBI which bother me greatly. Those that followed Slabbed coverage of the River Birch Investigation real time remember that New Orleans FBI Special Agent In Charge Dave Welker retired in May, 2012. While I am certainly not suggesting Welker did anything wrong I firmly believe there is a backstory to the departure.

My coverage of the US Attorney playing on the internet scandal has been profoundly colored by the musing of a couple of particularly sharp lawyers, one of whom called the implosion of these prosecutions the very day the Sal Perricone news broke. What I find neat is the evolution of the story on these pages as the community here began the proverbial search for the truth immediately. I’d invite everyone to note how the Perricone’s departure in March 2012 lines up on the timeline of the events with Special Agent in Charge Welker’s retirement in May, 2012.

So now we have a jailbreak as everyone from Ray Ray the Chocolate Guy to the former Goatherder in Chief are now crying foul.  I am led to understand that Nagin is even possessive of some salacious communications from the former Team Letten.  I do not think it will save him but this all illustrates the 3 ring circus like atmosphere that comes with Team Horn’s report on prosecutorial misconduct at Team Letten. And no 3 ring circus would be complete without hearing from Team Letten and for that we must turn to the Lucky Coin Today but before we do that we gotta circle back to Mark Moseley’s insanely good column on the Lens about the dust up between Sean O’Keefe and Jim Letten at Tulane that I featured back in August and again feature today:

Adding to the intrigue, this morning the conservative web site Patterico’s Pontifications published an exclusive inside account of a conversation journalist Charles Johnson had with Letten last month. Letten asked for the conversation to be off record, but Johnson didn’t agree. Johnson claims that, according to Letten, the “decision to prosecute O’Keefe and to accept Letten’s recusal was made at ‘the very highest levels of the Justice Department.’” This comment aligns with O’Keefe’s claim that Attorney General Holder was involved in his prosecution — as usually happens whenever a case has partisan political overtones.

Johnson also implies there was a fairly cozy relationship between Letten and former NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune criminal justice reporter John Simerman, who now writes for The Advocate. Johnson believes Simerman used Letten as an unnamed sourcein a July story about the faceoff with O’Keefe, and cites Simerman’s “very sympathetic portrait of the former U.S. Attorney only days after he resigned in disgrace.”

Simerman, who has declined to engage on the issue in the past, did not immediately respond to a fresh request for comment.

Thus let the PR counter offensive begin:

Stephanie Grace: Despite abuses, facts of case intact

Stephanie is right about the case facts of the Danziger Bridge shootings remaining intact but she went a good bit farther than that:

Where Engelhardt loses me is in his conclusion: That the jury’s verdict couldn’t stand.

Even if the comments did create a “21st Century carnival atmosphere” — as anonymous comments generally do — that carnival took place well outside the courtroom.

I personally like the concept of anonymous commenters, especially those from informed insiders, which I personally have grow to love dating back to my days with Rowdy Rodent on Yahoo Finance. Informed insiders love to read about themselves and more, far more but I have yet to find a lawyer that shares Stephanie’s conclusion regarding the remedy Judge Engelhardt chose because rogue prosecutors are almost never called to account for their actions. Within a few days of Stephanie’s column we get this from the Advocate:

Two jurors: Overturned Danziger verdict ‘insulting’ ~ Clare Galofaro

In both cases the story is framed as the remedy to the prosecutorial misconduct (ordering a new trial) being the Judge’s fault instead of the prosecutors that stepped out. Clearly this is the message Jim Letten wants put out before the public.

Last week I asked the Slabbed Nation exactly how much independent journalism is worth? Go read Mark Moseley’s column on the Letten – O’Keefe confrontation and contrast it with the coverage in the local for profit media. You won’t find anything like it anywhere except on websites like Slabbed and American Zombie. It also should lead everyone to the conclusion that you can’t achieve true independent journalism emulating the for profit media business model, at least that is where it leads me.

11 thoughts on ““The worst may be yet to come”: A playing on the internet disaster update”

  1. I can’t help but wonder if Englehardt would have ruled the same way had the victims been the cops and the perpetrators been the shooters? Many of Englehardt’s reasons (witness credibility determinations, etc..) seem to be a complete usurpation of the jury system. Basically, “I didn’t believe the witnesses were creidble so, the jury was wrong”.

    No evidentiary hearing? Not bringing the jurors into court and questioning them?

    I wonder whether Englehardt was sympathetic towards the police officers, likely because of the events surrounding Katrina, and decided to take a more active role against what he deemed was a witchhunt by an over-aggressive Justice Department.

    1. I think Judge Engelhardt has a history of judicial activism. To me, the question of whether he went too far will be answered by 1. Whether DoJ appeals and 2. If they appeal, the result of it.

      The legal experts cited by the media seem to agree that 1. There will be no appeal and 2. If there was one DoJ would not prevail. Who knows? I know this, Muspench is tearing it up on NOLA.com linking Slabbed in comments and the powers that be are not deleting them. Yesterday she linked NOLA Born, who disclosed that in a prior life she was a DoJ prosecutor. Like Muspench, I’d consider her opinions to be definitive:


    2. Perhaps so, nrb, but given Englehardt’s background, he may have simply had his fill of show-trial nonsense by DOJ and called them down on that point. I have an inkling of his mindset from associates and certainly Englehardt found himself in one of those philosophically nuanced conflicts.

      On another matter, the article by Stephanie Grace convinces me the bitch has no idea whatsoever about organic law, the Constitution and the protection against politically minded show trials. Grace reminds one of those who would have loved the charades put on during the Great Purge. After all, the defendants were guilty, everyone knew it, so why engage in niceties?

  2. Sorry for my mis-spellings. Also, I should have said “if the cops were the victims and the victims were the shooters”.

    One thing this proves is that those without resources have zero shot against a federal prosecution. Heebe, et. al. were able to uncover this because of their deep pockets.

    If what Muspench writes is true, then what are the chances of success on a re-trial?

    1. As it related to Danziger Bridge I’d say the prosecution still has the upper hand by far. On the other end of the spectrum Fred Heebe walked away free. It is in the context of the Heebe prosecution which the FBI rumors circulate. I think Mark Titus can shed light on that which I speak.

    1. That is correct, ada. Anytime a card carrying member of the False Estate assumes the position as establishment lickspittle, I’ll call them down. There were too many good principled journalists in this area over the decades who the Picayune/Advocate would never touch with a ten foot pole simply because they wouldn’t prostitute themselves. Guess the neutral term of asshole would be better, but then that doesn’t seem strong enough to express contempt for such creatures.

        1. There are times when euphemisms fail to convey the degree of disgust that a principled man should express, Ada. I routinely employ descriptors such as nomenklatura kleptocrats or apologist lickspittles, for starters, but clearly there are times when extremely forceful descriptors are required or otherwise the harm done by these pathetic nullpersons is submerged.

  3. I have a couple of questions: NUMBER (1): WHAT WAS/IS MORE “PREJUDICIAL” to the Danziger defendants, (a) the anonymous web-site Comments by Federal prosecutorial employees or (b) the MEDIA STORM about the case, the trial, the defendants, the witnesses, and the victims, since Englehardt released his 129-page BOMBSHELL on September 17, 2013? NUMBER (2): WHAT WAS MORE “WRONG”, (a) the anonymous Comments by Perricone, Maselli-Mann, the woman from the D.C. DOJ, Letten’s knowledge, and ALL of the lying about it, to the Judge and to the Public, or (b) Letten issuing a BLATANTLY FALSE PRESS RELEASE in my criminal case on February 5, 2010, in which he stated: “…[O’Dwyer’s conduct] culminated in a threat to U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Brown [A BOLD-FACED LIE] and individuals at the United States Courthouse [ANOTHER BOLD-FACED LIE]”, also adding gratuitously for the world to see (the Press Release was printed verbatim in the Times Pick-Your-Nose and other RAGS): “The arrest and subsequent indictment [YES, WHOEVER PRESENTED THE USA’s CASE AGAINST ME TO THE GRAND JURY ALSO LIED] of this individual on federal felony threat charges should serve as an unmistakable signal of our absolute commitment to use federal laws to ensure the safety of our citizens and those who serve our institutions – and as a warning to those who would contemplate threats of violence [ANOTHER LIE INSOFAR AS I WAS CONCERNED] to achieve personal goals [TOTALLY INAPPLICABLE TO ME, AND LETTEN KNEW it]. My thanks go out to the Special Agents of the FBI who so vigorously responded [MORE AGENTS THAN WERE DISPATCHED TO APPREHEND JOHN DILLINGER, and who took 9 hours to “respond” after my allegedly criminal E-mail hit cyberspace] and effected the apprehension [I SURRENDERED TO @ 8 SPECIAL AGENTS WHO HAD 9 millimeters and Glock 40’s pointed at my head], and to our Assistant U.S. Attorneys and support personnel who worked with them tirelessly [it took me almost 2 years of “struggle”, but I BEAT them and won dismissal of the spurious charge against me].” Words in BRACKETS [ ] added by AROD. Now THAT’s what I call “abuse of power” and “prosecutorial misconduct”. Ashton O’Dwyer.

    1. Still, I prefer your last, EP. Civilized opposition in the face of stupidity will win out (in the long run) every time.

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