US Attorney resigns amid probe of online posts

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — U.S. Attorney Jim Letten is resigning amid a Justice Department probe of alleged misconduct by two of the top deputies in his New Orleans office.

Letten, the nation's longest-serving U.S. attorney, announced his resignation Thursday at a news conference.

Two prosecutors who served as supervisors under Letten are targets of an investigation by the Justice Department..

One, Sal Perricone, resigned in March after acknowledging he criticized judges and politicians and commented on cases in anonymous posts on a local newspaper's website. Letten demoted his top assistant, Jan Mann, last month after she admitted posting several anonymous comments on the same site.

Letten rose to fame by winning the conviction of former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards. He has served as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana since 2001. Letten said his resignation is effective Dec. 11 and that he plans to stay on with the department briefly to help with the transition in leadership.

The Justice Department has appointed Dana Boente as interim U.S. attorney.

Boente has served as first assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia since 2007.

In a statement, Attorney General Eric Holder said Boente has worked in the Justice Department's tax division and has handled fraud prosecutions in Virginia. He joined the department in 1984.