New Orleans U.S. Attorney Jim Letten announced the demotion of his No. 2 following a lawsuit that alleges she used an online moniker to post disparaging comments about defendants in federal cases.
Jan Mann is no longer the First Assistant U.S. Attorney, nor is she the office’s Criminal Division chief, both positions she has held in the past, Letten announced Thursday, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The announcement comes six days after the civil lawsuit was filed in New Orleans federal court by Fred Heebe, the owner of River Birch landfill, the target of a long-running federal probe.
Letten confirmed Mann had posted comments at Nola.com, the Times-Picayune’s website, but he did not say whether she is “eweman,” the alias alleged in Heebe’s lawsuit. The Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility has been asked to look into the matter, Letten said. The U.S. Attorney said he would not be releasing any further information, the Times-Picayune noted.
“Because this matter is now under review by the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., the release of any additional information by my office would not be appropriate,” he said in the statement.
This is the second time a federal prosecutor in Letten’s office has been accused of such conduct. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sal Perricone resigned in March after Heebe filed a similar lawsuit against him, revealing him as a prolific online commenter who took aim at defendants and attorneys in his own cases.
Louisiana Sens. Mary Landrieu (D) and David Vitter (R) this week expressed their concerns about the latest allegations, signaling a potential erosion of political support for Letten, who has run the New Orleans office since George W. Bush appointed him in 2001.