Friday, April 27, 2012

Federal Prosecutor Kicked Off Some Cases for Anonymous Online Comments

Federal Prosecutor Kicked Off Some Cases for Anonymous Online Comments

by Debra Cassens Weiss,
March 16th 2012 7:16 AM

A federal prosecutor in New Orleans probably won’t be working on cases involving a landfill probe after acknowledging he made anonymous online comments about the owner of the property.

The prosecutor, Sal Perricone, admitted making hundreds of posts at using the name Henry L. Mencken1951, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Associated Press and On Thursday, U.S. Attorney Jim Letten announced that Perricone has been removed from all matters on which he commented at the website, which publishes stories by the Times-Picayune. He has referred the matter to the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility.

Letten would not specify which cases are off limits for Perricone, who also used the handle to criticize federal judges, political figures and his boss. In one comment, Mencken1951 asserted that U.S. District Judge Helen "Ginger" Berrigan is someone who “loves killers.” In another, the writer complained that Letten “is great for taking credit for other people's hard work. It is the assistants and agents who do the work and should be congratulated."

Perricone told Letten he was the author after the landfill owner hired a forensic linguistics expert to examine nearly 600 comments made by Mencken1951. The expert found striking similarities between the online comments and a brief written by Perricone. The Times-Picayune lists some examples: The author of the posts and the brief used alliteration and antiquated words such as dubiety" and "redoubt."

Perricone’s handle apparently refers to Henry Louis “H.L.” Mencken, a Baltimore Sun columnist who died in 1956.

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