Online Commenting Allegations at New Orleans U.S. Attorney Office Widen
By Elizabeth Murphy | November 5, 2012 12:22 pm

The No. 2 at the New Orleans U.S. Attorney’s office is facing allegations that she posted critical online comments about federal cases — the second Assistant U.S. Attorney in the office to be accused this year.

Jan Mann

Jan Mann, the First Assistant U.S. Attorney, is named in the lawsuit, which contends that she posted comments on Nola.com (the New Orleans Times-Picayune’s website) regularly from November 2011 to March, according to a report by the Times-Picayune. The civil suit, filed Friday in federal court in New Orleans, alleges that Mann used the alias “eweman” to post comments about a range of cases being worked out of her office.

One such case is the ongoing River Birch landfill probe, and it’s the landfill’s owner, Fred Heebe, who made the allegations. Heebe was also behind the lawsuit that unmasked Assistant U.S. Attorney Sal Perricone earlier this year. Perricone, a longtime federal prosecutor in the office, resigned amid controversy that he was the person behind an online persona making numerous disparaging comments about ongoing federal cases and law enforcement officials, including those in his own office.

Neither Mann nor U.S. Attorney Jim Letten made any comment about the lawsuit Friday.

Heebe’s new lawsuit contends that “eweman” stopped commenting in March, when Perricone was outed and resigned. The suit states that 21 of the 35 comments discovered talk about the U.S. Attorney’s office or defendants in federal investigations.

Richard Rainey of the Times-Picayune noted Friday, however, that, “Heebe’s goal seems to have less to do with fighting the investigation into his affairs than with disrupting Letten’s status as a dispenser of justice in Louisiana.”

The Public Integrity Section at Justice Department headquarters took over the River Birch probe after Perricone admitted to posting the vitriolic comments.

Rainey reported that there were rumors that Perricone was helped with his comments by fellow Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Mann, who is Jan Mann’s husband. Letten beat back those rumors at the time, saying Perricone acted solo.

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