The Guardian has identified a lawyer from Alaska as a supporter of the Mormon-derived extremist group Deseret Nationalists, who has posted a number of racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic messages on social media.
The Guardian’s investigation has sparked a review in the Alaska Department of Law, where the lawyer works.
Matthias Cicotte, whose job means he works as an attorney general for Alaska’s attorney general, has acted for the legal department in a number of civil rights cases.
But evidence from his Twitter output allowed Cicotte to be identified by anti-fascist researchers, whose evidence was confirmed and supplemented by a Guardian study.
After the department was presented with the information last week, Alaska’s deputy attorney, Cori Mills, wrote in a statement shared with the Guardian: “The Department of Law takes the allegations raised here seriously and we uphold the dignity and respect of all individuals and ask that all our employees do the same. ”
Mills added: “Since we just learned about this late last week, we are gathering information and conducting a review. As this involves staffing issues, we are very limited in our ability to comment further. ”
Matthias Cicotte did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
Online, under the moniker J Reuben Clark and the Twitter handle @JReubenCIark, Cicotte has expressed extreme views on race, criminal law and religion.
Since deleting tweets archived by anti-fascists reveals that he told various extreme views, including the summarized imprisonment of protesters from Black Lives Matter; vigilante violence against left-wing groups; and a penalty for execution for acts, including performing gender reassignment surgery.
The JReubenCIark account was also one of the earliest and most prominent accounts promoting Deseret nationalism on Twitter using hashtags like #DeseretNationalism and #DezNat.
Deseret Nationalists or DezNats are a loose association of right-wing Mormons. In the past, they have been noted for harassing perceived enemies online, such as progressive Mormons, LGBTQ Mormons, former Mormons, and political progressives.
Some who identify with the movement want to recreate Deseret, the region that is now much of the interior of the western United States that Mormons sought to have incorporated into the union and effectively ruled between 1862 and 1870.
Some DezNats are in favor of the creation of a theorocratic secularist Mormon state, and others have suggested that this is a white ethnostat, a wish reminiscent of some white nationalists’ proposal for a white ethnostat in the Northwest Pacific.
Many DezNats flirt with accelerating neo-Nazi images and pass on memes and slogans that are adaptations of imagery and proverbs associated with the “all-right” movement.
The account is pseudonymous, but it left a trail of evidence of Cicotte’s identity, which was filed by anti-fascist activists.
The moniker not only refers to a prominent Mormon leader and lawyer from the 20th century, but is the name of Brigham Young University’s law school, from which Cicotte graduated in 2008.
The account revealed a number of biographical details that match Cicottes, ranging from the duration of his marriage to the identity of his criminal law professor, to his frequent movements to the dates of his various stints in higher education, to his ownership of a minivan, to the date of his house purchase.
There are other clues based on the course of his life or simultaneous events. In August 2020, the account owner noted that he had been overweight but lost a significant amount of weight, which is equivalent to a long chronological order of photographs obtained from his wife’s Facebook page.
The most compelling evidence comes from photographs submitted by the account, which present them as depictions of the interior of the owner’s house. One reveals a distinctive pattern on the masonry, and the other a similar distinctiveness on wood paneling in a kitchen.
The first matches a fireplace depicted in two photographs of Cicotte’s house posted on the website realtor.com; the second matches several pictures of Cicotte’s kitchen in the same place. The photos of the kitchen also reveal a matching layout and countertops for the photo posted to Twitter.
In a phone conversation that took place after he saw the photographs that were sent to Twitter, Ellsworth Warner, who lived in the house until 2014, when it was sold to Cicotte, said, “Yes, it’s the same house,” and identified the cabinets as installed by his mother, Renee Warner.
Another description of the outline of his house on Twitter also matches satellite images.
Many of the tweets under the JReubenCIark moniker suggest antipathy towards Jews, which is the subject of hundreds of tweets suggesting that they are involved in conspiracies against white people or that they are already controlling the commanding heights of the economy, media or education.
In 2016, the account sent out a tweet that evoked an earlier time when “true history was taught in school, anger yentas did not rule, white men did not play the fool”.
The tweet – which hints at the malevolent influence of Jewish women and the decline of white men as problems in the modern world – tagged in two such prominent all-right accounts at a time when this movement was at the height of its influence on social media .
In February of this year, referring to the pressure of the Republican Jewish Committee on the expulsion of Marjorie Taylor Greene, JReubenCIark wrote that he supported their efforts “to combat the conspiracy theory that Jews control everything by having a member of Congress they do not like. , expelled from Congress “.
The account also regularly denied the reality of anti-black racism, attacked black public figures and showed extraordinary hostility towards anti-racist protesters associated with the Black Lives Matter movement. He also casually made racist remarks about other groups, including Mexicans and Indians.
In a March tweet, JReubenCIark claimed that accusations of racism were “purely a tool to control people on the right”, and went on to ask “try to think of an example of an accusation of racism that helped right or Christian or white for the last 10 years ”.
On June 15 last year, he used a slogan for the so-called Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, who tweeted: “The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its consequences have been a disaster for humanity.”
The account also repeated well-known white nationalist rhetoric about the relationship between race, crime and IQ. He tweeted: “Is it ‘white supremacy’ to notice that some racial groups have higher IQs than others based on IQ tests? I believe in it and I’m just a Deseret supremacist. ”
JReubenCIark also showed a dismissive animus towards Latinos. On June 25 last year, he wrote: “I can not believe that there is a faithful Latter-day Saint out there who can look at the collapse of birth rates among Latter-day Saints and say, ‘Well, hey, at least many Catholic Mexicans coming to the United States. ‘”
On June 30, when the protests in the wake of the murder of George Floyd were in full swing, the story was told a Utah BLM supporter, with whom he argued on Twitter: “You and all your lying violent criminal friends belong in jail.” He added later: “#BlackLivesMatter is a criminal company that murders people and destroys property. In a healthy world, you would all be in jail or worse. ”
On July 2, he discussed an incident in Provo, Utah, in which a man appeared to drive his car into a crowd of BLM protesters, noting: “No one had the right to block his car. You all belong in prison. ”
The account tweeted about violence against transgender people.
On October 17, 2017, Cicotte responded to the news of a Drag Time Story Hour event in Long Beach, California: “This demon must be burned to death, and everyone responsible for that library event must go to jail.”
On August 16, 2019, he tweeted: “People who encourage a child to believe he is a different gender than what he is (including parents) are going to jail for child abuse”, adding that “people who perform or performs sex change operations on children, receives the death penalty. “
The account was more forgiving of accused killers with right-wing political sympathy.
Discussing the case of Kyle Rittenhouse, who was accused of a double murder of protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in August last year, he wrote: “The justice system will fail. He’s not a cop, he’s screwed up like James Fields. ”
James Fields was convicted last year of the murder of Heather Heyer, whom he killed in a car attack after marching with white supremacy at the Unite the Right demonstration in Charlottesville in 2017.
The account regularly suggested vigilant action against political opponents.
In June 2017, JReubenCIark concluded a thread on how best to respond to the left’s characterization of conservatives with the remark: “If brutal violence is the only way to be free of them, then what do they expect of us?”