Landfill owner and federal criminal target Fred Heebe has filed a court petition claiming he was defamed by someone inside the U.S. Attorney’s office through anonymous reader comments on a local news website.
Heebe, co-owner of the embattled River Birch landfill, suspects that nearly 600 posts to the reader comments under the pen name “Henry L. Mencken1951” were actually written by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sal Perricone.
In his petition requesting depositions with Perricone and Assistant U.S. Attorney James Mann, Heebe used a former FBI profiler to analyze the posts to the website nola.com and found strong similarities to court filings signed by Perricone, one of the lead prosecutors in the River Birch case.
Heebe has never been charged with a crime or named by federal authorities, but has been considered a primary target ever since Former state Wildlife and Fisheries Commissioner Henry Mouton pleaded guilty last year in the River Birch case. Mouton confessed to accepting more than $460,000 in bribes from River Birch to lobby for closure of the Old Gentilly Landfill, a River Birch competitor.
Former FBI profiler James Fitzgerald, who helped crack the code of the infamous Unabomber and identify him as Theodore Kacynski, “strongly indicates that Mencken is in fact a member of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana.”
In his 11-page report, Fitzgerald states that legal language and insider knowledge of the U.S. Attorney’s office point to Perricone. According to Fitzgerald, Mencken1951 has a “highly distinctive writing style” that is “eerily similar to that of a nine-page pleading filed by the government” and signed by Perricone, Mann and Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Kennedy.
-- In the nola.com comments, Mencken1951 uses the words “dubiety” and “redoubt,” both of which appear in legal documents filed by Perricone and the River Birch prosecutors.
-- Mencken1951 and the River Birch prosecutors make liberal use of alliteration. For example, in a Dec. 27 court document, prosecutors wrote, “River Birch has many progenitors, progeny and prongs.” In a Jan. 17 post, Mencken1951 wrote “Puerile Pandering Politician,” in reference to a local official’s Martin Luther King Day speech.
-- Perricone was born in 1951. Among the 598 reader comments by Mencken1951, Heebe’s attorney Kyle Schonekas cites several that he claims are defamatory.
Mencken wrote that ‘Heebe comes from a long line of corruptors,” in a Sept. 3 post.
“Mencken displays detailed knowledge about and antipathy for Mr. Heebe throughout the posts,” Schonekas stated in the petition
U.S. Attorney Jim Letten declined comment Tuesday. An assistant to Letten said he was “still digesting” Heebe’s petition.