The Police Association of New Orleans (PANO) and its president, New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) Capt. Michael Glasser, claimed in a legal filing last month that the United States Department of Justice had misrepresented itself in the investigation and negotiations leading to the NOPD consent decree.
The organization's problem was, you've guessed by now, the involvement of former blog-something prose-commenter Sal Perricone. (Also see John Simerman's story on internet startup Perricone's recent appearances in federal court filings.) PANO hopes to reverse a judge's ruling denying its motion to intervene as a named party to the consent decree.
From our earlier story:
PANO charges that former Assistant U.S. Attorney Sal Perricone, who was part of the U.S. Department of Justice's consent decree negotiations team, posted comments on nola.com "clearly and publically display[ing] that he had no faith or respect for the defendants, the NOPD or their present leadership."
The filing points to comments Perricone posted under the user names "Henry L. Mencken1951" and "legacyusa."
Today, DOJ responds, calling PANO's claims immaterial. Judge Susie Morgan's decision against PANO had did not turn on whether PANO's interests were well represented by its negotiators, DOJ says.
(More after the jump)
From the feds' motion in opposition:
The Court denied PANO’s Motion to Intervene because, among other reasons, PANO had no “legally protectable interest in the subject matter of this litigation required for intervention as of right,” and because PANO’s intervention “would unduly delay these proceedings.” August 31, 2012, Order at 15, 22. Perricone’s conduct has no bearing on those determinations. Contrary to the implication of PANO’s argument, the Court’s denial of intervention did not turn on whether the United States will represent the interests of PANO during the tenure of the Consent Decree.
(Note: Morgan did give PANO, as well as the larger officers' association the Fraternal Order of Police, a potential opening to future intervention, but only if they could show that the city or the department was attempting to undermine Civil Service rules or procedures by way of consent decree-mandated policies.)
The filing also says that PANO's claim of "newly discovered" information about Perricone was public knowledge by early August 2012. The information in question was Perricone's use of the handle "legacyusa" on Nola.com.
Months before PANO filed its Motion to Intervene in August 2012, it was widely known that AUSA Perricone had made online comments regarding NOPD and the Decree.
Additionally, the media continued to extensively cover Perricone’s online comments up until the Court’s denial of PANO’s Motion to Intervene on August 31, 2012. Notably, on August 7, 2012, New Orleans magazine published an interview with Perricone in which Perricone admitted to using the “legacyusa” alias.
Meanwhile, the city has asked to delay implementation of the consent decree. The city wants the court to wait at least until Morgan has decided on its motion, submitted last week, to void it altogether.