forensic linguistics

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Mar 21 05:55:56 UTC 2012

A story that has been picked up by Eugene Volokh mentions forensic
> U.S. Attorney Jim Letten confirmed this afternoon that Sal Perricone,
> one of his top prosecutors, has been using the handle "Henry L.
> Mencken1951" to bash landfill owner Fred Heebe and a raft of other
> local and national figures, including federal judges, in the comments
> section on Perricone "'readily admitted" using the
> psuedonym, and the matter has been referred to the Justice
> Department's Office of Professional Responsibility, Letten said.
> ...
> 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."

ArsTechnica has followed up with substantially the same material.
> "The pleading and the Mencken posts share many similarities, including
> the use of particular archaic words—e.g. 'dubiety' and 'redoubt'—as
> well as distinctive punctuation and frequent use of the rhetorical
> technique of alliteration," Heebe's petition read.
> In a December 2011 comment, "Mencken1951" wrote, "If Heebe had one
> firing synapse, he would go speak to Letten's posse and purge himself
> of this sordid episode and let them go after the council and public
> officials. Why prolong this pain....perhaps Queen Jennifer has
> something to say about that." Jennifer is the name of Fred Heebe's wife.
> Perricone's 598 comments appear under many stories, not all
> addressing the River Birch Landfill Case. U.S. Attorney Jim Letten has
> recused Perricone from all federal matters that the assistant attorney
> discussed on He did not enumerate which other matter might
> be included.

Perricone has since resigned.


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