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Sunday, October 13, 2019

DOJ denies request to identify former U.S. attorney in misconduct investigation, but releases redacted report on affair

By Record News | Jun 13, 2017

WASHINGTON – Justice Department lawyers denied media requests to identify a former U.S. attorney who committed adultery with a supervisor in his office, but they released a report with dozens of details about the affair. 

The Office of Inspector General blacked out about half the 12-page report and concealed all names, staging a tense drama with an anonymous cast. 

The report showed that from 2011 to 2015, the U.S. attorney’s mistress used his power to intimidate her employees. 

“Many employees felt extremely stressed and powerless,” the report stated. 

It also stated: 

Employees avoided the U.S. attorney and his mistress at any cost. 

They didn’t report her harsh treatment to the man who would receive such reports, because they believed he wouldn’t challenge his boss. 

“Several staff members even feared retaliation for their cooperation with the OIG investigation,” the report stated. 

The pair traveled together on 16 official trips, and they admitted visiting each other’s hotel rooms. 

They logged on to computers in the office on 26 straight weekends. 

Email and phone records suggested nearly constant communication. 

The inspector general started the investigation in 2015, after someone reported an “unbearable atmosphere” to the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys. 

The person provided further information that the affair caused disparate treatment and created a difficult environment. 

Investigators interviewed 17 employees and reviewed records of job appraisals, bonuses, travel, official electronic mail, and official cellular telephones. 

The report further stated:

Many employees described impressions of an affair between the U.S. attorney and the supervisor. 

Staff said they carpooled to meetings, sat together at meetings, ate lunch alone together every day, and flirted with each other frequently. 

Staff said the behavior embarrassed and distracted them. 

“Staff relayed that their affair was obvious and not discrete,” it stated. 

Some called it a hostile environment, due to her harsh treatment and complete support from upper management. 

Staff said special agents and federal court members discussed rumors of the affair, causing more embarrassment. 

Around May 2012, an employee who had been friends with the U.S. attorney’s family for years warned him of rumors. 

Four lines of black ink cover her exact words. 

She told investigators her relationship with him had been strained and tense ever since. 

The man responsible for harassment reports said the two were very close but he didn’t suspect an inappropriate relationship. 

He said he began to be concerned when he heard a complaint, and that he told the U.S. attorney to spend more time with other people in the office. 

The report carried responses from the former U.S. attorney, who retired from federal service around the time the investigation started. 

It further stated:

The U.S. attorney agreed it was a risk to his job to engage in the affair. 

He said he knew the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys would have asked for his resignation if they had discovered the affair. 

He acknowledged that a family friend warned him in 2012, and he said he told her not to worry about it.

He denied treating her differently after that; he didn’t believe he betrayed the trust of employees; he didn’t believe he demonstrated partiality.

He said employees had multiple opportunities and avenues to address their work environment. 

He said he suspected the complaint was timed to meet the agendas of a few malcontents. 

He said she received pay increases because she worked hard. 

He said he applied to retire before he knew about the investigation. 

He said they didn’t misuse government time at the office on weekends, because they were working. 

The report said that his actions constituted ethical misconduct and that they violated regulations and policy. 

It stated that he showed a lack of full acceptance of responsibility. 

It found his comment on “malcontents” remarkable given his acknowledgement that discovery would have cost him his job. 

Black bars dominated a section about their trips. 

The inspector general sent the report to the Executive Office of U. S. Attorneys and the deputy attorney general. 

The inspector general posted a summary of the report on May 16, without naming the former U.S. attorney. 

The inspector general released the full report on June 12, after blacking out all names and some details for protection of personal privacy.      

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U.S. Department of Justice