Jim Letten

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James B. Letten
Jim Letten US Attorney.jpg
United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana
In office
April 30, 2001 – December 11, 2012 (resigned)
Appointed by George W. Bush
Preceded by Eddie J. Jordan, Jr.
Personal details
Born 1953
Alma mater Tulane University Law School

Jim Letten was U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana.[1] On December 6, 2012, Letten announced his resignation from his position as U.S. Attorney, effective December 11, 2012. He was the longest-serving U.S. Attorney in the country, holding the position for more than 11 years.[2] In February 2013, Tulane University School of Law hired Letten as an assistant dean to the college.[3]

U.S. Attorney in New Orleans[edit]

After finishing his law degree at the Tulane University School of Law, Letten worked for Orleans Parish District Attorney Harry Connick, Sr. for four years and then began his career as a prosecutor for the U.S. Department of Justice. He was involved in the successful prosecution of former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards[4] and former state representative David Duke.[5] Letten is also well known for his mustache, which is the focal point for many political jokes, e.g. "The Justache".[6]

Bipartisan support for reappointment[edit]

Letten is a Republican, having been appointed to the U.S. Attorney's position by President George W. Bush. Nonetheless, when Republicans lost the Presidency to Democrat Barack Obama in 2008, many Democrats, including U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, took the unusual step of urging the new President to ignore partisan labels and reappoint Letten.[7]


Letten's prosecution of a number of ongoing indictments and trials, including two in which Mose Jefferson was a defendant, garnered bipartisan support.[8] The instability in eastern Louisiana after a series of hurricanes, notably Hurricane Katrina, factored into Landrieu's prosecutions.[9]

On September 25, 2009, the Times-Picayune praised Letten and the FBI for "bringing to justice" Bill Hubbard, who resigned as Saint John Parish president after receiving bribes of $20,000 from contractors.[10]

On 1 February 2010, Letten recused himself from the case of James O'Keefe and O'Keefe's three co-defendants amid accusations of impropriety. O'Keefe later publicly confronted Letten and offered to give him a copy of his book. Letten later stated he regretted his behavior during this encounter. [11]


  1. ^ Becky Borer, "Letten: New Orleans' Future Depends on Tackling Crime, Corruption" on the web site of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, posted 2006 November 08 from the Associated Press via the Times-Picayune (New Orleans).
  2. ^ ROBERTSON, CAMPBELL (December 6, 2012). "Crusading New Orleans Prosecutor to Quit, Facing Staff Misconduct". The New York Times. 
  3. ^ "Tulane University hires former U.S. Attorney Jim Letten, station reports". The Times-Picayune. 
  4. ^ U.S. Attorney Jim Letten's page on the Justice Department web site.
  5. ^ "New Orleans Black Leaders Accuse Letten of Racism in Indictments" on Bayoubuzz.com, 2009 May 28. See also Rick Jervis, "Feds take aim at corruption by officials in New Orleans" in USA Today, 2007 October 19.
  6. ^ "Does stunning collapse of River Birch case portend uglier revelations ahead?". 
  7. ^ "Landrieu Recommends Bagneris, Letten, May for Key Federal Appointments in Eastern District" on Senator Landrieu's web site, 2009 April 27 (retrieved 2009 June 06). Landrieu observed, in her recommendation, that Letten had retired as a Commander (O-5) from the U.S. Navy Reserve in naval intelligence, a job requiring a top-secret clearance.
  8. ^ See Betty Jefferson, Mose Jefferson, Angela Coleman, and Renée Gill Pratt. All the defendants faced indictments on Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) violations, including alleged use of e-mail to commit fraud. Mose Jefferson faced a separate set of seven indictment counts for bribery, and on 2009 August 21 he was convicted on four of them.
  9. ^ Stephanie Grace, "Louisiana U.S. Attorney Jim Letten is Obama's kind of prosecutor" in Times-Picayune, 2008 December 11. The support of a state's two U.S. senators, especially of the President's party, historically has been critical to appointments of U.S. attorneys in the state.
  10. ^ "Another crook bites the dust" in Times Picayune, 2009 September 25, Saint Tammany Edition, p. B4.
  11. ^ https://www.projectveritas.com/media-coverage-u-s-attorney-gone-wild/