DOJ Investigating Prosecutor After 60 Minutes Interview on Riot

US District Judge Amit Mehta says Michael Sherwin's interview 'surprised' him
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2021 7:48 AM CDT
DOJ Investigating Prosecutor After 60 Minutes Interview on Riot
Michael Sherwin speaks during a news conference on Jan. 12, 2021, in Washington.   (Sarah Silbiger/Pool via AP)

A high-profile 60 Minutes interview on the Capitol riot has jump-started an internal Justice Department probe into the prosecutor who gave it. The piece that aired Sunday featured Michael Sherwin, the former US Attorney in DC who revealed he'd witnessed firsthand the chaos on Jan. 6, and that he believed sedition charges against some of those at the Capitol may be coming. CNN reports that US District Judge Amit Mehta called an emergency meeting on Tuesday with the DOJ and attorneys for defendants said to have been at the riot, warning all parties that no one should be speaking to the press and citing his concerns about Sherwin's interview. "The government, quite frankly, in my view, should know better," Mehta said, adding he'd been "surprised" that Sherwin went on TV to talk about it all, per NBC News. "This case will not be tried in the media."

Mehta then added: "It is something I hope the Department of Justice is looking into." John Crabb Jr., a leading prosecutor for the US attorney's office in DC, piped up that that's exactly what's happening, noting that "rules and procedures were not complied with in respect to that ... interview," and that the matter has been referred to the Department of Justice's watchdog Office of Professional Responsibility, per the Washington Post. The paper notes that US attorneys are supposed to notify and coordinate with the DOJ before speaking to the media "on matters of national importance." Mehta also called it "troubling" that anonymous DOJ sources had told the New York Times that sedition charges could be in the works. CNN notes that DOJ prosecutors talking publicly about current probes or hinting at what charges may be filed is "not typical," and that judges strive to keep potential jurors untainted and protect defendants' rights, especially in headline-making cases like this one. (More Justice Department stories.)

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