One of Jim Letten’s most prominent prosecution targets has noted irony in the New Orleans U.S. Attorney’s recent downfall over an online commenting scandal.
“The Chinese have a saying that if you sit by the river long enough, the dead body of your enemy will come floating down the river,” former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards said in May 2000 after his conviction on racketeering charges. “I suppose the feds sat by the river long enough, so here comes my body.”
Letten, the longtime New Orleans U.S. Attorney who announced his resignation Thursday amid an online commenting scandal, was the lead prosecutor in the racketeering case against the Democratic governor a decade ago. The prosecution gave Letten the national spotlight, and he was tapped to lead the federal prosecutor’s office a year later.
Now, as Letten faces his abrupt exit from a 28-year career in the office, Edwards is reminding his chief opponent in the courtroom of those words: “Sit by the river long enough. I did,” Edwards said in a statement to the New Orleans Times-Picayune on Thursday.
Edwards was released from prison in January 2011.