2023 Investigative Summary 3
INVESTIGATION OF ALLEGED CONFLICT OF INTEREST AND FAILURE TO ADVISE THE CLIENT
OPR received complaints that an Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) was involved in a romantic relationship with a law enforcement agent who assisted in the prosecution of cases handled by the AUSA. OPR’s investigation determined that the AUSA formed a romantic relationship with the agent while prosecuting two cases with the agent and that the AUSA did not disclose the existence of her relationship with the agent to her USAO supervisors until after the relationship had ended. OPR further determined that the AUSA never disclosed the existence of the relationship to the court and defense counsel in the cases she worked on with the agent after becoming involved romantically.
Based on the results of its investigation, OPR concluded that the AUSA violated her obligations under the rules of professional conduct when she knowingly failed to keep her client reasonably informed by not disclosing to her USAO supervisors that she was involved in a romantic relationship with a law enforcement agent working on her cases and who was a potential witness. OPR also concluded that the AUSA violated her obligations under the rules of professional conduct when she knowingly continued to represent the government despite a conflict of interest that arose from her romantic relationship with the agent and without having obtained her client’s consent to her continued representation of the government. OPR further concluded that the AUSA did not violate her discovery obligations when she failed to disclose the existence of her romantic relationship with the agent to the court and defense counsel in the cases they worked on together after becoming involved romantically because the cases resulted in guilty pleas, and therefore the potential impeachment information was not required to be disclosed.
OPR referred its misconduct findings to the Professional Misconduct Review Unit.