Mr. Letten. (Photo: Justice.gov)
Even powerful attorneys are not safe from the ridiculous behavior of Internet trolls. Jim Letten, a Bush-appointed U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, resigned yesterday in the wake of a scandal involving two of his underlings who made thousands of anonymous comments on Nola.com articles.
The two staffers, former Assistant U.S. Attorney Sal Perricone and former first assistant Jan Mann, reportedly created anonymous user names so that they could post comments–many about sensitive cases–to Nola’s website. Uproxx reports that the duo may have believed they could sway public opinion, and thus a jury vote, by leaking information in the comments.
Having served 11 years in office, Mr. Letten established a reputation for tackling corruption cases, yet was taken down by trolls embedded within his very own office.
Mr. Perricone, who resigned in March after the scandal was brought to light, is said to have written close to 600 comments under the name “Henry L. Mencken1951.” In addition to giving away confidential information, Mr. Perricone also slipped easily into the role of typical pompous windbag Internet commenter, embracing a penchant for $2 words like “dubiety.” He also attacked a myriad of people, including President Obama and his very own boss Mr. Letten.
Let this be another lesson in the tenuousness of anonymity online: even if you think you’re anonymous, you probably aren’t.