Senior US Federal Attorney Is Outed On Public Messageboard

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The US Attorney General for Louisiana, Jim Letten, announced today that one of his top prosecutors has been using the handle "Henry L. Mencken1951" to criticize a local landfill owner and a raft of other local and national figures, including federal judges, in the comments section on Louisiana's Times-Picayune website. Perricone "readily admitted" using the pseudonym, and the matter has been referred to the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility, Letten said.

And what does a US Fed utter when he thinks he's protected by anonymity? Will this issue create a controversy over whether or not someone commenting publicly under an alias can be construed as an ethical conflict of interest?

It will be up to that office to determine Perricone's punishment, Letten said.

Perricone -- whom Letten called a "fine veteran attorney" -- has been recused from all matters that he discussed in comments on, Letten said. He said he could not enumerate which cases that might include.

He added that Perricone, 60, the office's senior litigation counsel, "knows the restrictions and laws under which we operate."
U.S. Attorney Jim Letten said that Sal Perricone, the office's senior litigation counsel, 'knows the restrictions and laws under which we operate. All our folks know commenting on ongoing cases are things you're not supposed to do.'

The controversy over "Mencken1951's" identity erupted Monday, when Heebe filed a petition in Civil District Court alleging that there was strong evidence the moniker belonged to Perricone, one of the lead prosecutors in a sweeping probe of the River Birch landfill. Heebe is co-owner of that landfill. The petition sought a court order allowing Heebe's lawyers to depose Perricone and James Mann, a colleague.

Perricone's activities were "not known of or authorized by myself or the U.S. attorney's office," Letten said.

He added that Mann had no role in the postings by "Mencken1951," and said that Heebe's suit "cavalierly" threw Mann into the mix.

Heebe hired James Fitzgerald, a former FBI profiler who specializes in "forensic linguistics," to review 595 comments left by "Mencken1951" below stories posted on the website, which is affiliated with The Times-Picayune.

Fitzgerald noted eye-popping similarities between the language used by "Mencken1951" and a legal brief filed by Perricone and two other prosecutors in a matter related to the River Birch investigation. Among other things, he said both the author of the legal brief and "Mencken1951" were fans of alliteration and rarely used, antiquated words, including "dubiety" and "redoubt."

Perricone's post, senior litigation counsel, is a spot reserved for the criminal division's most talented trial expert. He has not commented publicly on the controversy to date.

Perricone was present at the government's table this morning as defense lawyers and prosecutors argued over whether prosecutors were guilty of misconduct by meeting with Dominick Fazzio, the chief financial officer for River Birch, without his lawyer being present. Fazzio faces charges unrelated to the River Birch inquiry, but prosecutors have been trying to get him to sign a plea deal in that matter and cooperate in the landfill probe.

U.S. Judge Ginger Berrigan -- a frequent target of barbs by "Mencken1951," who once said she "loves killers" -- ruled this morning that prosecutors had behaved appropriately. While she did not address the controversy, when Perricone stood up to ask a question at one point, she told him sharply: "Sit down, Mr. Perricone. "

Letten stressed that the observations about the bench that Perricone made under his online alias were his alone, and not representative of the office.

"We've got one of the best benches in the world," Letten said. "We depend on these judges and we trust them to rule in accordance with the law."

Many of Perricone's online comments involve the U.S. attorney's office and various current and past targets of the office. His "interest in and level of knowledge about an ongoing (federal) investigation of River Birch are striking and beyond what could be expected of even the most diligent Times-Picayune reader," Heebe's petition noted.

"Mencken1951," who had been a prolific commenter on, was mostly quiet in the wake of Heebe's allegations. But at 6:15 a.m. Wednesday -- after Perricone had already confessed to Letten that he was "Mencken1951" -- he posted a comment below the story about Heebe's petition.

"I'm here. Watching our rights erode," he wrote.

Letten said this afternoon that it's "our hope and belief that there's no damage done to any cases we're handling." He added that "missteps, inappropriate handling of things by federal prosecutors, are really rare."

The Office of Professional Responsibility has not responded to a media inquiry from The Times-Picayune sent yesterday.

"Mencken1951's" handle paid homage to Henry Louis "H. L." Mencken, an acid-tongued Baltimore Sun columnist and influential essayist. That Mencken, who died in 1956, was perhaps best known for his satirical reporting of the 1925 Scopes trial, which he dubbed the "monkey trial."

Here are some choice comments made by the federal prosecutor (full link at end of story)

  • I caught that and immediately turned it off. She has a leftest agenda and NO amount of superior didactic will change her hyphenated mind. (comment on 'Melissa Harris-Perry' launches on MSNBC')

  • As a retired member of the bar, and grateful for the approbation, I can attest that the legal profession is one of the most corrupt enterprises in this country. The bench and bar collaborate with the Congress and state legislatures to scribe the rules for most to follow and a few (guess) to enjoy exemption. It's our royalty--our crown--our secular deity.
    No one should believe that the aggrieved will be made whole. The bench and bar will see that they are sated first and the offal will be packaged as justice and given to those injured by the spill.
    Class-action law suits are,by their nature, criminal enterprises. They concentrate power of decision in the hands of a few, while casting the injured as props in their sinister pursuit of large lump settlements. Judges are also to blame as they, like Falstaff, standby gloated with self-importance and allow a disproportinate of the money to go into the fat pockets of the lawyers.

  • Frack the environmentalist!!!! If they want to live in caves, let them. If they want to weaken our country by making it dependent on unfriendly foreign countries, they should move there. I've never met one of these cretins who had an orignial idea about anything.

  • After reading this, it appears that Santa's elves are the FEDS!!! may god bless them all!!!

  • Let's give the NOPD some credit. They are telling us that the victim was not armed and for that, I appreciate their openess. No coverup. It some progress. Let's be happy for that.

  • New Orleans (Orleans Parish), with its arrogant, atavistic view of the planet, seems content to spend taxpayers' money to sustained an expensive antiquated system which only serves those who want to perpetuate it. Term Limits!!!!!!

  • One solution, I submit, is this. Since we the people are too lame to vote out corrupt politicians, we should require our legislators to make ALL elected positions term limited. There, let the law do what we are to lazy to do.

  • I have a simple questiion for those who suspect the police misused their privlige to employ lethal force: did the wounded officers shoot themselves?

  • The proof is self-evident. People don't run from success--they embrace it. If the public schools were so great, we wouldn't be having this discussion. You are evidently a product of one of these bastions of higher learning.

  • Your newspaper has just featured a gang of 4 or 5 gentlemen who are, no doubt, products of the public school system. Had they been educated and guilded by qualified teachers dedicated to the profession, perhaps their mugs wouldn't be on display in your newpaper. And, moreover, if you walk the tiers of parish prison and ask how many inmates went to public schools, I submit the results would be nearly unanimous.
    Leave the prison and walk the streets. Ask the gentlemen at Poydras and Claiborne--yes the one with the little cardboard sign. Ask him if he went to public schools. I can go on,but I chose not to, for opinion is blind to some uncontroverted facts.
    If we want to break away from the same engine which has generated decades of undereducated poor people who see no hope in the American dream, the stay the course with present paradigm of public schools. Duberry, if you theory was correct, why would anyone seek to have a voucher system. People follow success, not run from it.

  • Who thought this up??? Is this the best we can do? Are the only embassadors of this state people who roam swamps, need sub-titles to help non-cajuns understand what they are saying, attire themselves in Goodwill rejects, need emergecy dental work, bathe occasionally, and rejoice in the killing of animals? What have we devolve to? And you wonder why we have gangs roaming the streets of New Orleans. When are we going to demand more of ourselves? Why do people eschew school vouchers? Are they afraid we will be denied an inventory of future freaks on TV?
    The Lieutenant governor should demand better ways of projecting Louisiana's image. This isn't working. And if people come to here because of the swamp people, we don't want them here..we have enough already.
    (Louisiana uses "Swamp People" to promote the state)

  • If a parent can choose to terminate human existence before it is born, why can't a parent choose where to educate a child if they decide to let it live? It's that simple and unhypocritic.

  • While the 13th Amendment codified abolution of slavery, LBJ through "political neglect" re-shackeled a signficant portion of our population, to the extent that the entitlement culture has begotten and armed,drugged, undereducated, aggressive population devoid of social values which foster evolving standards of decency among all people. But LBJ's programs and iterations thereof, have gottem many a politician elected and lamentably, still does.

  • There wounldn't have been a TARP had the democrats, namely Carter and Clinton, not pushed the Community Reinvestment Act, which is the DIRECT cause of the housing failure in this country and the concommitant failures on Wall Street. Banks were forced to lend money who couldn't pay it back, the mortgages were bundled into sweet investment packages, but when the borrowers couldn't pay the loans back by the thousands, it revealed how dumb the democrats really are. Here comes Bush to clean up their crap, and he gets blamed for causing the problem.
    Obama has NO original ideas and MUST run on his record.
    NOTE: Sal's comments here are completely wrong, and we covered the actual cause of the housing market collapse in detail here.

  • The city should post a very large banner across Bourbon Street which should read: All Activities Are Forbidden, Except Excessive Drinking, Carrying A Firearm, Drug Use and Sodomy."

  • I will rest comfortably knowing that drug dealers, plying their trade on our public streets, have an expectation of privacy which allows them unfettered access to their customers and suppliers, and that the Fourth Amendment, as recently interpreted and mangled by this Supreme Court, has become an ally in securing their enterprise.

  • As I sip my morning coffee, I wonder how many idiots I will encounter today. So far, the count is ONE-you. You slash at the US Attorney's office and offer no examples of what you speak--or allege. I went to law school with John Volz and admired him and still do. I believe the standards he set in that office are still there. I've been around this town for many years and know of what I speak. I would be shocked, dismayed and disappointed if anyone associated with that office did what you vapidly allege. Cite examples, or go read the Society page!!!

  • Apparently, corruption isn't old news in Jefferson Parish, given what Letten's posse is doing TODAY! Can you imagine what it would be like in Gretna if the Feds hadn't taken down Marcotte? He was a corruptor, not unlike someone else who shall go unmentioned--but you know who it is. Somehow the Feds got Marcotte to cooperate and that is a good thing. Perhaps it's a teachable moment that someone else should take note of and QUICK!

  • Doodler, the captain of the cruise ship would have been black, would you have identified him as a cowardly black cruise ship captain? Or do you just accentuate Italians as being cowardly? How about other nationalities? I see your name is Kelly. Where you well sodden when you scribbled this cartoon? You are a failure in the human condition and deserve to be draped over the end of a bar, aspirating your own vomit. (re: comic about beached cruise ship run by Italian crew)

  • What is the former president of white suburbia doing with a black Tulane and Broad lawyer? Now, there's a story that should be explored.

  • You got your hoookah fired up is see. Now you and the Pirate can sit around all day and muse about how great our country is and where its going--straight to hell. The fact remains, that our country is experiencing a complete erosion of our freedoms and libertities, something you, while in your stupor,don't realize. While you and your friends are immured in a belief that our nation is better off because a few more people found jobs for Christmas, the reality is that the United States is in existential jeopardy because of your "transformative" president. Inhale deeply!!!!

  • He [Obama], like Castro, owns the media. You got to be proud.

  • WHITE HOUSE: January 3, 2012.
    9:00am. Meeting with NBC, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, CNN.(Trash Republicans and vaunt accomplishments of Obama. Lying is okay)

    10:30am. Meeting with New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribue. ( Deluge editorial pages with pro-Obama fantasies)

    Noon. Meeting with Ron Paul operaitves. (Funnel money to Paul campaign and encourage a Perot-like run as third party candidate. Son will be rewarded.)

    2:00 Meeting with Occupay Movement, nee Acorn and secret fund money to demonstratre in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan. Divert money from the Southern states as they don't mean a damn thing to the domocrats.

    3:30. Meeting with David Axlerod. Write Check with many didgets before the decimal. Okay to bring Ayers.

    4:30. Wine and Cheese (from Pelosi's vinyard and cheese from union boss in Wisconsin). Meeting with Black Democratic Congressional Caucus) Call everyone and every thing which is agains Obama RACIST. Contact Occupy Movement, nee Acorn, but don't share funds.

    6:00PM. Concert in the East Room followed my shaking down Hollywood. They want tax breaks? Contribute to it hurts.

    10:00pm Retire, turn off the lights quick!!! and go to sleep, Tomorrow is another day of Fantasy President.

  • Next to Barak Obama, Rick Perry Shines.

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Related Landfill owner Fred Heebe had ex-FBI linguist analyze comments




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