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Assistant AG leaves job after investigation into social media posts | Alaska News


Alaska Assistant Attorney General Matthias Cicotte, under investigation for allegedly posting “racist, antisemitic and homophobic” comments on social media under a pseudonym, is no longer working for the Department of Law.

Attorney General Treg Taylor said in a written statement that Cicotte has left his position. His last day of employment was Tuesday, according to the attorney general’s office.

While stating that laws protecting the confidentiality of employees restrict what he can disclose, Taylor said “we do not want the values and policies of the Department of Law to be overshadowed by the conduct of one individual. We are a diverse work force that represents an even more diverse state and its people.”

The Guardian newspaper reported on July 21 that Cicotte “posted a series of racist, antisemitic and homophobic messages on social media” under the pseudonym @JReubenClark.

After the Guardian story was published with the headline “Assistant attorney general in Alaska posted racist and antisemitic tweets,” the state Department of Law announced its investigation.   

“Cicotte has been removed from his caseload and his status with the Department is subject to change at any time as our investigation continues,” Taylor said in an email to Department of Law employees, which his office shared with the News-Miner.

On July 22, Taylor wrote in the email: “Dear Department of Law: The allegations raised against Mr. Cicotte are very serious, and we are currently working with the Division of Personnel and Labor Relations to conduct an investigation into the various claims. I find the tweets at the center of this matter deeply troubling and offensive and, as you know, they do not represent the views of the State of Alaska, the Department of Law and certainly do not represent my personal views or my deeply held faith. All people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. The contemptuous views expressed in these tweets, which are based solely on the race, religion, sex, and political identity of others, fall very far from that standard.”

Cicotte worked in the criminal division at the Alaska Department of Law, according to the bar association, where he served as chief corrections counsel for Alaska’s attorney general.

The ACLU of Alaska is urging the state to review Cicotte’s work on cases as assistant attorney general. The NAACP had called for Cicotte’s termination after the Guardian news reported on the social media posts. 

Cicotte was admitted to the Alaska Bar in 2008, according to the state bar association. He was a graduate of Brigham Young University Law School, which is sponsored by the Mormon Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He also served as a judicial clerk on the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska.

JReubenClark tweeted Tuesday, Cicotte’s last day of employment: “Will have more thoughts in a few days, but I want to thank everyone who has been praying for me and for my family. It means a lot to us. The offers of help from friends far and near are appreciated, and I am not too proud to accept, just need to figure out what help is needed … ”

Several Twitter users commented on the tweet, and referred to media reports about the investigation of Cicotte posting as @JReubenClark. 

The Guardian news article said that @JReubenClark was a self-described member of the Deseret Nation, which identifies as Mormon. The group uses the hastag #DezNat for “Deseret Nation.” It is not endorsed by the Mormon Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

According to the Deseret News of Utah, #DezNat users have published posts “that degraded women, used sexually explicit and profane language to demean people and their ideas, contained racial slurs and mocked gay and transgender people. Some posts displayed violent imagery.”

The article indicated that @JReubenClark had deleted some postings identified as racist and/or anti-Semitic.

Contact Linda F. Hersey at 907-459-7575 or follow her at twitter.com/FDNMpolitics.

 



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