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Federal Jury Convicts New Mexico Man For Leaking Information About Criminal Investigation

September 30, 2013

A retired educator and husband of a federal prosecutor in Albuquerque, New Mexico, faces potential federal prison time after a federal jury convicted him late Friday afternoon of leaking information regarding a criminal investigation to a target announced United States Attorney Robert Pitman.

The jury convicted Danny Burnett of one count of giving notice of certain electronic surveillance and one count of making a false statement to federal investigators.  Evidence presented during trial revealed that on February 17, 2011, Burnett met at an Albuquerque restaurant with long-time friend Columbus Police Chief Angelo Vega and advised him that federal investigators had a wiretap on Vega’s phone.  Burnett was also convicted of making a false statement to federal investigators on February 28, 2012, when he denied notifying Vega that he was the subject of a firearms trafficking investigation.

“Breaching the integrity of a criminal investigation not only compromises the ability of authorities to enforce the law but, more importantly, jeopardizes the safety of law enforcement officers.  This prosecution demonstrates that we will pursue leaks and prosecute those responsible for unlawfully disclosing sensitive information,” stated United States Attorney Robert Pitman.

Burnett, who remains on bond pending sentencing, faces up to five years in federal prison per count.  Sentencing is scheduled for January 14, 2014.

This case was investigated by agents with the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (DOJ-OIG), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).  Assistant United States Attorneys Steven Spitzer and Greg McDonald from the Western District of Texas are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

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