Former Special Counsel Charged with Contempt


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Former U.S. special counsel charged with contempt

Thursday, April 22, 2010; 9:20 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. official in charge of protecting whistle-blowers during the Bush administration has been charged with withholding information from Congress, according to court records filed on Thursday.

Scott Bloch, former head of the Office of Special Counsel, was under investigation by federal authorities and a House of Representatives committee over allegations he mistreated employees and obstructed justice by deleting files from his office computer in 2006.

Bloch had told the House Oversight Committee he hired an outside computer service to erase his computer’s hard drive to remove a virus and fight a hacking threat. Critics questioned why he did not use in-house technicians.

Bloch “unlawfully and willfully withheld pertinent information from the committee” about the erasure during an interview with the panel in March 2008, according to a criminal information filing by prosecutors in U.S. District Court. The charge against Bloch was criminal contempt of Congress.

Such criminal information filings are typically used when a defendant plans a plea agreement with prosecutors, resulting in a guilty plea.

Bloch’s lawyer, William Sullivan, declined to say whether his client would plead guilty but said he was glad the five-year investigation was over for his client.

Bloch resigned from his position in October 2008.

The Office of Special Counsel is responsible for protecting government whistle-blowers and ensuring that the federal bureaucracy is not used for political ends.

SOURCE The Washington Post

Read the full article here.



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