Assistant U.S. Attorney exposed as online troll behind abusive comments about local officials and businessman
A federal prosecutor has been demoted after anonymously posting abusive comments on an online news site.
Jan Mann, who was First Assistant U.S. Attorney in New Orleans, doled out personal abuse and even offered opinions on cases she was working on, all under a 'sock puppet' pseudonym.
This is the second time this year that someone in the office of U.S. Attorney Jim Letten has been caught trolling online, and could endanger the senior prosecutor's position.
Ms Mann's online misbehaviour was unmasked by businessman Fred Heebe, a landfill tycoon whose company is under investigation by her office.
He had previously claimed the scalp of Sal Perricone, another assistant attorney who resigned in March after being sued for defamation over comments he had made about Mr Heebe on NOLA.com, a local news website.
And earlier this month, he filed a lawsuit against Ms Mann, whom he accused of posting at least 40 times on NOLA.com under the pseudonym 'eweman'.
Some of her commments appear to be little more than personal abuse - for example, she said of one local attorney: 'This guy looks like Boss Hog [sic] and hasn't looked at a law book since he left school.'
And blasting a radio personality with links to Mr Heebe, she wrote: 'He is a two bit journalist/artist/con man who needs to go ASAP.'
Ms Mann also said of the city's congressman, 'Don't you ever wonder how they get rich in public office? Not possible unless stealing.'
More damaging to her position in the U.S. Attorney's Office, however, were comments she made criticising people connected to the Heebe investigation, potentially putting the outcome of the case at risk.
The businessman's lawsuit goes as far as to accuse her of 'libellous and defamatory statements', claiming she implied Mr Heebe had been bribing journalists to secure favourable coverage.
After Ms Mann's exposure, Mr Letten issued a statement confirming that she had been posting at NOLA.com, and adding that she had been reassigned to a more junior position in his office.
The reaction to Mr Perricone's unmasking earlier this year was more extreme, as he immediately resigned from the attorney's office altogether.
He had posted hundreds of highly outspoken comments, including criticism of 'Obama and his West Wing band of Bolsheviks'.
Mr Perricone also insulted federal judges, asking of one: 'Would you hire a doctor who never performed brain surgery to operate on a cranial tumor?'
Both attorneys were discovered by a forensic language expert hired by Mr Beebe, who identified Mr Perricone and Ms Mann by comparing their anonymous posts to their published writings.
Assistant U.S. Attorney exposed as online troll behind abusive comments about local officials and businessman | Mail Online
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