Fed at center of blogging scandal resigns

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wwltv.com

Posted on March 20, 2012 at 9:59 AM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 20 at 6:10 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

NEW ORLEANS -- U.S. Attorney Jim Letten has accepted the resignation of a former top assistant.

"I, indeed we reject the caustic criticisms expressed in these cynical barbs," Letten told a who's who in local law enforcement attending the Tuesday's Crimestoppers luncheon in downtown New Orleans.

Sal Perricone's departure comes about a week after he admitted to Letten that he was the source of hundreds of improper comments under another name on NOLA.com. 

Perricone admitted to making more than 600 blog posts under several fake names. The posts dealt out harsh criticisms on a many topics, ranging from federal investigations to local politics and politicians.

Letten says his office is already moving forward without Perricone.

 

 

"Know this, in addition to those being unauthorized, none of those comments, criticisms or characterizations were in anyway reflective of my views or opinions of those of the United States Department of Justice or this office or our people," said Letten.

Letten said he expects to appoint two of his assistants to take Perricone's place in the ongoing discussions about a federal consent decree for the NOPD.

"It doesn't preclude the continuation of the internal investigation, which we requested by the Office of Professional Responsibility, which will run its course," Letten said.

Letten told reporters that from information gathered so far, Perricone was acting alone, outside the bounds of Department of Justice guideline about extra-judicial comments about ongoing cases.

Local top cops are sticking by Letten and his office.

"I have absolute faith and confidence in Jim Letten," said NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas.

"By no means have we lost any confidence in the U.S. Attorneys Office or Jim Letten," said St. Bernard Sheriff-Elect Jimmy Pohlmann. "They do a good job and I'm sure they're going to continue to do a good job."

"It's hard to make a judgment of an entire organization, based on the singular action of a singular individual, that was kind of living an alter-life to what he was doing day in and day out," said Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand.

Rafael Goyeneche from the Metropolitan Crime Commission said he feels bad for Perricone, but said his commentary was out of line.

"There's no question that as an employee of that office, it is totally inappropriate for an attorney to be making those types of comments and it reflects, unfortunately on the office."

Letten said while Perricone is no longer an AUSA, the investigation into his conduct continues.

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