2022 Investigative Summary 4
INVESTIGATION OF ALLEGED PARTICIPATION IN AN UNAUTHORIZED MEDIA INTERVIEW
OPR initiated an investigation into whether a former Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) (who was a senior Department official shortly before the conduct at issue) had violated local court rules, bar rules, or Department regulations or policies in connection with statements made to the media during a televised interview about the Department’s pending prosecutions of individuals involved in a matter of national interest. As a result of the information it learned during its investigation, which included conducting multiple interviews and reviewing court filings, transcripts, and Department records, OPR concluded that the former AUSA committed intentional professional misconduct by violating the rules of professional conduct, as well as provisions of the Justice Manual concerning media contacts, when he participated in a media interview without consultation with or authorization from the Department’s Office of Public Affairs or Department leadership. OPR referred its findings to the Professional Misconduct Review Unit, which subsequently affirmed OPR’s findings and conclusions and authorized OPR to refer the former AUSA to the appropriate state attorney disciplinary authorities, which OPR has done.