WARNING- LONG, MEANDERING POST AHEAD:
After a lot of wondering about what Letten is really up to, it appears that something big is finally in motion.
Jim Letten is the Federal Prosecutor for the Eastern District of Louisiana. He was Eddie Jordan's chief assistant and did most of the heavy lifting in the Edwin Edwards case.
After Jordan left to become Orleans DA, Letten was appointed by Bush. After taking down most of the Morial administration and nailing Oliver Thomas, Jim Letten has been extraordinarily quiet. Very little visible action was taken after the NOAH story broke. The only brief interruption was when the crime camera report from the OIG office came out.
Supposedly, Cerasoli had been sitting on the report for months, at the behest of Jim Letten, who didn't want to endanger ongoing investigations. Cerasoli had to leave for health reasons and had the report released shortly after he left for Boston, straining the relationship between the OIG and Jim Letten's office.
Now, there's a lot of speculation out there about why Letten's office has been so quiet for so long. The dark side of the speculation says he's a Rovian attack dog (along the lines of the Donald Siegelman case)), bent on taking down only Democrats. As evidence, they cite the Canal Street Madam case early in his career. Letten took down a major brothel that served many of New Orleans' movers and shakers. Allegedly, Letten shut the investigation down early because too many Republicans including a few national Republicans, were in the Madam's little black book. There's also a flagrant violation of the Travel Act that has yet to see the inside of a courtroom.
Furthermore, remember that Nagin's most loyal backers are Republicans (the "Couhig Conservatives") and Greg Meffert, Nagin's Pampy Barre, is a behind the scenes player with the local Republicans (Intelliport, a Meffert company, put together Joe Cao's new website).
Recently, Nagin's been acting like he know's he's untouchable, either because he has friends in high (Federal) places or because he knows that any indictment of him could tear this city to pieces. Take a look at Jeffery's character portrait of Nagin. Lots of interesting points. Nagin plays the fool, but the joke's on us. Some of Nagin's theatrics below:
He makes the reporters act like total fools (and the reporters are dumb enough not to even realize it).
So, could the much beloved "Dragon-Slayer" really be in on a bigger corruption racket?
There could be a lot of innocent explanations for the delays. First off, corruption cases are VERY hard to put together for one big reason (amongst many others): politicians tend to hire very good defense attorneys. Cases have to be airtight. If you're outside looking in, it can be very hard to put all the pieces into place in a way that will stand up in court, especially if you don't have a snitch (or does Letten have a snitch in Nagin's administration?). Also, the Federal Prosecutor is required to have a certain percentage of his prosecutors on violent crime cases (generally putting local thugs who work through the revolving door local justice system into the federal system on gun charges).
There's no definite evidence to say that Letten is either assisting the corrupt (knowingly or unknowingly) or is just trying to put together a case in tough circumstances.* Whether or not Meffert goes down, or if it's just smaller players, could finally settle the matter, though.
It's getting exciting. I don't know what I'm looking forward to more: the ending of Battlestar Galctica, or what Letten's next moves are.
*For the record, I think it's the latter. Full disclosure, my dad used to work for a friend of Letten's and used to go to lunch with his boss and Letten. He's always spoken highly of Letten.
UPDATE- Detailed analysis of the legal implications for some of the lawyers involved. A whole lot of lawyers (Tracie Washington, Penya Moses-Fields) probably deserve to be disbarred.
If you really want to get down to business, look at the offsite backups. That will tell you instantly what's going on. Any monkey business with those tapes and you have a serious federal offense.
For real tinfoil-hat territory, Ciber, a Meffert company, was a security contractor for Premier Election Solutions [Diebold]. Nagin, whose reelection depended on higher than expected turnout at satellite voting stations in Lake Charles, Baton Rouge, etc. might have gotten an extra boost from Ciber/Diebold audited machines at those polling stations...