WASHINGTON – Former Justice Department senior trial attorney Ryan H. Rainey, 48, has pleaded guilty to violating the federal criminal conflict of interest statute while employed in the Civil Rights Division, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division announced today. Rainey pleaded guilty during a hearing before Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola of the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia charging him with violating 18 U.S.C. §§ 208(a) & 216(a)(1). He faces a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for September 15, 2006.
According to court documents, Rainey served as a senior trial attorney in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section, from January 2002 through April 1, 2005. Prior to joining the Civil Rights Division, Rainey served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Columbia for seven years. During his tenure with the Civil Rights Division, Rainey’s responsibilities included investigating alleged civil rights abuses of persons confined in certain institutions owned or operated by, or on behalf of, state and local governments.
On April 3, 2003, the Civil Rights Division opened an investigation into alleged civil rights abuses at a juvenile correctional facility located in Stockton, Calif. Rainey served as lead counsel in the Department’s investigation but Rainey was recused from handling the matter on June 7, 2004, when his supervisors became aware of his previously undisclosed conflict of interest. Specifically, in his plea of guilty, Rainey admitted that, from February 2004 through June 2004, while serving as lead counsel in the Department’s civil rights investigation, he was negotiating for employment with the State of California to serve as a Special Master appointed to monitor and oversee the state’s reform of its juvenile facilities, including the facility that was the subject of the ongoing probe. Court documents further alleged that Rainey attempted to obstruct the government’s investigation into his criminal conduct.
This case is being handled by Trial Attorney Armando O. Bonilla of the Public Integrity Section, headed by Acting Chief Andrew Lourie. The case was investigated by the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General.