DC District Court Judge Royce Lamberth yesterday ruled that former Special Counsel Scott Bloch can withdraw his guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge of lying to Congress.
Bloch in February asked to withdraw his plea after he learned it would carry a minimum sentence of one month in jail. Bloch said he was never told he faced mandatory prison time if he pleaded guilty.
Lamberth said that Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson, who conducted Bloch’s plea hearing in April 2010, acknowledged not telling Bloch about the mandatory sentence. Lamberth also said that Robinson used language that suggested the prison time was instead optional. This was a mistake, Lamberth said.
Federal prosecutors are not opposing Bloch’s request to withdraw his guilty plea. They said they also believed Bloch could get probation by pleading guilty instead of having to go to jail.
Bloch allegedly retaliated against whistleblowers in his office by having them moved to a newly created Detroit office. While the Office of Personnel Management’s inspector general was investigating those allegations, Bloch had his laptop’s hard drive wiped. He said it had a computer virus, but critics believed he was trying to destroy evidence that showed he had retaliated.
The FBI raided his home in May 2008 searching for evidence he had obstructed justice by wiping the laptop.
Tags: Scott Bloch
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