Former U.S. special counsel charged with contempt


Scott Bloch, who led the Office of Special Counsel during the Bush administration, was charged with criminal contempt of Congress on Thursday, Reuters reports.

Bloch was forced out of office  in October 2008 after a tumultuous term that culminated in FBI agents raiding his office and home. They were searching for evidence that he obstructed justice during a federal investigation into whether he retaliated against employees who disagreed with how he managed the agency, which is charged with protecting federal whistleblowers and other employees from retaliation.

Bloch was widely suspected of having his computer wiped clean of files that may have supported the claims of retaliation leveled against him. Bloch insisted he had his computer scrubbed because it was infected with a virus.

Bloch “unlawfully and willfully withheld pertinent information from the committee” about the erasure during an interview with federal investigators in March 2008, according to a criminal information filing by prosecutors in U.S. District Court, Reuters said. Prosecutors charged Bloch with 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, Reuters reported. 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.


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