Former Special Counsel Scott Bloch yesterday filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge of contempt of Congress. His reason for calling backsies? Nobody told him that he’d have to go to jail after pleading guilty.
In his motion, Bloch said that the court didn’t ask him if he knew about and understood any potential minimum sentence that might follow his April 2010 guilty plea. Months later, Bloch said, the court’s pre-sentence investigation said that this particular charge carried with it a minimum sentence of one month in jail.
Which was news to Bloch. He said both the prosecution and defense previously said this charge came with no mandatory minimum prison sentence and that the pre-sentence investigation’s was “the very first time” this penalty was discussed.
This means, of course, that the saga of Scott Bloch is never. Going. To end.
Here’s a nutshell summary of Bloch’s tumultuous stint as special counsel I wrote last December:
Soon after taking charge of the office in 2004, Bloch argued that federal workplace discrimination laws did not include sexual orientation as a prohibited personnel practice, and removed all references to such discrimination from OSC materials. The White House overruled Bloch and said sexual orientation discrimination is prohibited, and OSC resumed processing those discrimination complaints.
Bloch allegedly retaliated against OSC employees who leaked that decision to the press, and tried to have them moved to a newly created Detroit office. And while the Office of Personnel Management’s inspector general was investigating those allegations, Bloch had his laptop computer wiped. Bloch said his computer had a virus, but critics believed he was trying to destroy evidence that would show he had retaliated.
The FBI raided Bloch’s home in May 2008 searching for evidence he obstructed justice by wiping the laptop, and in April he pleaded guilty to a charge of contempt of Congress. He has not been sentenced.