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Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

NEW ORLEANS -- A high profile case in federal court in New Orleans is on hold, at least for now.

U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Vance has agreed to stay River Birch Landfill owner Fred Heebe's defamation lawsuit against former top prosecutor Sal Perricone.

Monday, Heebe and former federal prosecutor Sal Perricone filed a joint motion, asking a judge to stay Heebe's defamation lawsuit against Perricone.

Heebe is believed to be the focus of a criminal investigation into a controversial solid waste contract in Jefferson Parish.

He sued Perricone, alleging that the ex top prosecutor defamed him in a series of anonymous posts on a news website under the pen name HenryL. Meckan1951.

Heebe made similar claims against former First Assistant U.S. Attorney Jan Mann in a separate lawsuit.

Hebee and Perricone asked a judge to stay the their litigation pending the outcome of federal investigations into the online posting scandal.

They also cite the fact that another federal judge, Kurt Engelhardt, called for an independent investigation into the allegations in November.

The pleading states, 'In light of pending federal investigations, the parties jointly request that the present litigation should be completely stayed, including a stay of all discovery, until the above mentioned federal investigations are resolved.'

Heebe has not been charged with a crime and maintains he has done nothing wrong.

Both Perricone and Jan Mann resigned from the U.S. Attorney's Office following the online posting claims. The scandal also led to the resignation of former longtime U.S. Attorney Jim Letten.

According to court papers, 'Either party may file a motion to lift the stay if the circumstances so warrant.'

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