Washington, DC, March 30, 2006 – The National Whistleblowers Center strongly condemns the March 29, 2006 indictment of former federal prosecutor Richard Convertino. Mr. Convertino, a former award-winning Assistant United States Attorney, disclosed significant deficiencies in the Ashcroft Justice Department’s “war on terror.” After being warned not to testify before a Senate oversight hearing, DOJ stripped Mr. Convertino of his prosecutorial responsibilities and “leaked” highly derogatory information to the press about Mr. Convertino.
Instead of backing down, Mr. Convertno filed a Privacy Act lawsuit against DOJ and publicly criticized DOJ’s response to 9/11. Mr. Convertino’s criticisms received national media attention, including an in-depth review by U. S. News and World Report and a series of articles published by the Associated Press.
Justice Department officials continuously warned Mr. Convertino to desist from publicly criticizing the Department of Justice. After He refused to be silenced, the DOJ combed Mr. Convertino’s distinguished 16 year history as a prosecutor in order to identify any form of misconduct. Eventually, DOJ indicted Mr. Convertino on highly suspicious and implausible allegations that he improperly introduced a photo into evidence at one hearing, and that he improperly requested that a defendant’s sentence be reduced in a second hearing. Mr. Convertino has pleaded “no guilty” and intends on vigorously contesting these charges at trial. Mr. Convertino is being defended by two former DOJ prosecutors.
Kris Kolesnik, the Executive Director of the National Whistleblowers Center, issued the following statement concerning Mr. Convertino:
“This investigation and now indictment of Mr. Convertino by the Justice Department has been meant from the very beginning to disgrace and discredit him, derail his career and ruin him financially. It’s a vendetta.
“Unfortunately, Convertino was never given a chance to confront his accusers on a factual basis. The Whistleblower Center supports Mr. Convertino’s efforts to vigorously defend against this retaliatory prosecution and will continue to actively assist Mr. Convertino’s Privacy Act/whistleblower lawsuit. This lawsuit is designed to hold accountable those DOJ officials who violated the law when they leaked highly derogatory information about Mr. Convertino to the press in violation of the civil and criminal provisions of the Privacy Act.”
Mr. Convertino, now in private law practice in Plymouth, Michigan, recently successfully defended Michigan State Trooper (Mr. Jay Morningstar) who had been charged with murder related to an on-duty shooting incident. A jury found Mr. Morningstar “not guilty.”
A defense committee has been established to support Mr. Convertino and publicize his case through an informative web site located at http://www.convertino.org/