Nobody is indispensable

Dec 7, 2012 by

I haven’t posted here in a while but when someone gets their comeuppance, the old schadenfreude kicks in and I gotta post. It did yesterday: US Attorney Jim Letten packed up his mustache, drum kit, and gynormous ego and resigned from his post. He, of course, held a melodramatic presser, which had all the goo -goos, wingers, and media types weeping and wailing over his departure.

Here’s the deal. Letten did a good job for many years but his office began to display the arrogance and cockiness that comes naturally to lawyers. The whole commenting thing was an enormous ethical blunder, and there are indications that Letten was wearing ethical blinders when it comes to his number 2 and personal friend, Jan Mann.

It is unclear what exactly Letten knew and when he knew it but while he threw Sal Perricone to the wolves, it looks as if he protected Jan Mann until a month ago. Their commenting frenzy damaged the office’s credibility and may have compromised a string of cases including, most ominously, the Danziger Bridge convictions. Mind you, it’s hard to reverse a criminal prosecution but Letten’s ethical laxness has made that a possibility and has already led to a Justice Department investigation. Defense attorneys are dancing in the streets in anticipation of a windfall of business. I hope Buddy Lemann’s toup doesn’t fall off…

Jim Letten’s major failing is that he believes his own press clippings and the fulsome praise he has received over the years. He came to believe that he was indispensable because a sycophantic press corps told him that he was. Nobody is indispensable. To believe otherwise is hubris plain and simple.

So, Letten worshippers, the sun will rise and shine even after his departure. The investigative processes will grind on without the pompous, annoying and strident Letten calling a press conference and preening in front of the cameras. If there’s a case to be made against C Ray, it will happen without the presence of the mustachioed podium pounder. Nobody is indispensable.

In a word, Jim Letten is overrated. He’s managed to be re-appointed 3 times by kissing the right asses (calling Bitter Vitter) but his fanboys/girls are acting as if he has a divine right to be US Attorney. It is not meant to be a lifetime appointment and the way things have turned out for Letten shows why. His arrogance and that of his colleagues have subjected them to public ridicule and, potentially, sanctions for ethics violations.

But don’t cry for Jim Letten. He’ll land on his feet and cop a fat salaried gig with some local law firm. The sob sisters can put their towels away and look for a new hero because Jim Letten has held his last press conference as US Attorney. If only he would fade away quietly but drummers never do.

Nobody is indispensable.


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