Alaska’s embattled assistant attorney general, who was being investigated for reportedly using a #DezNat Twitter handle to post homophobic, antisemitic, sexist and racist comments on the social media platform, is no longer with the state’s Department of Law, according to the Anchorage Daily News.
A spokeswoman for the department told the paper that Matthias Cicotte’s last day was Tuesday but declined to say whether he resigned or was fired.
Cicotte, a graduate of Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School, was accused of using the #DezNat Twitter handle @JReubenCIark — with an uppercase I in the last name, instead of a lowercase L — to advocate “various extreme positions,” according to an article in The Guardian, “including the summary imprisonment of Black Lives Matter protesters; vigilante violence against left-wing groups; and a punishment of execution for acts including performing gender reassignment surgery.”
Late Tuesday night, @JReubenCIark tweeted “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.”
Last week Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor, who also earned his degree from the law school owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, wrote an email to the Department of Law, saying “the allegations raised against Mr. Cicotte are very serious” and “deeply troubling and offensive.”
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,” Taylor stated. “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 the standard.”
The hashtag, which stands for Deseret Nation or Nationalism, was coined in 2018 as a loosely aligned digital network of self-appointed warriors to defend the doctrines and practices of the LDS Church.
The Utah-based faith has pointed out that #DezNat is “not affiliated with or endorsed by [the church]” and has decried any racist or uncivil interactions.
The Provo law school — which is named for former Latter-day Saint apostle J. Reuben Clark — distanced itself from Cicotte’s alleged tweets.
“In light of the news report that a BYU Law alumnus has directed venomous and hateful Twitter messages against a variety of vulnerable groups, and in light of persistent vitriol and ugliness in civic discourse, both locally and nationally,” law school Dean D. Gordon Smith and Associate Deans Justin Collings and Carolina Núñez wrote to students, faculty and staff, “we wish to reinforce and reaffirm our commitment to the ideals articulated in the BYU Law Mission Statement” — including recognizing the “inherent dignity and equality of each individual.”
Cicotte had worked for the department since 2012, the Anchorage Daily News reported. “In 2018, the Council on American-Islamic Relations sued the state, arguing that prison meals served to Muslim inmates at Anchorage Correctional Complex were nutritionally inadequate. Cicotte, representing the state, disputed that the prisoners were deprived. The state settled the case.”
After the #DezNat allegations about the BYU grad surfaced, the Daily News wrote, “CAIR called for Cicotte to be fired.”