Consult a local defamation lawyer. If it is a valid claim, the lawyer will take care of obtaining the identity of the emailer.
No information provided in response to these questions can be relied upon in any way without further personally consulting with Attorney Kerrigan and Attorney Kerrigan consulting personally with you regarding your specific legal situation.
Here's how you could go about it: (1) file suit for defamation; (2) subpoena the information from the internet service provider.
In New Jersey you do not need judicial approval before issuing a subpoena. On the other hand, if the internet service provider is not based in New Jersey you may need to get court approval from whatever state the provider is located in. Bear in mind that the provider may also move to quash the subpoena.
The email, if fully kept, will have metadata that will likely prove the sender or at least the IP address of the sender (unless spoofed). Your trial attorney can subpoena the ISP for that IP address to prove the identity of the sender or to verify the metadata source indication. Depositions or interrogatories might be another route. Leave it to your trial lawyer to prove the ID of the sender.
Defamation cases are easy to file but seldom economically viable.
I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is at your sole risk. This is done without compensation as a free public service. I am licensed in IL, MO, TX and I am a Reg. Pat. Atty. so advice in any other jurisdiction is strictly general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.
"Minor mistakes were blown out of proportion" is highly suggestive that the email statements are either opinion or true. Statements of opinion -- no matter how mean or wrong -- are not actionable as libel. Ditto true statements.
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