(ConservativeUnit.com)- Michael Sherwin, the acting Washington US Attorney, gave an unapproved interview to “60 Minutes” on Sunday night in which he said that some people involved with the Capitol insurrection, including former President Donald Trump, could face sedition charges.
Now, Sherwin himself is the subject of an investigation.
On Tuesday, a lawyer for the Department of Justice said in court that Sherwin’s comments would be referred to the Office of Professional Responsibility.
The leading criminal prosecutor for the US Attorney’s Office in DC, John Crabb Jr., said when Sherwin gave the interview for CBS, “rules and procedures were not complied with.”
Judge Amit Mehta warned the DOJ in court on Tuesday, as well the defense attorneys for the 10 defendants of the Oath Keepers conspiracy in the Capitol riot case, not to speak with the media. The judge had called an emergency hearing with all the lawyers in the case, after a New York Times story that spoke about possible sedition charges and also the interview Sherwin gave with “60 Minutes.”
“The government, quite frankly, in my view, should know better. This case will not be tried in the media.”
He added that he wouldn’t hesitate to put a gag order on the case, which is very high profile. He made very clear to the lawyers that he believed sources within the Department of Justice could become a problem if they speak either anonymously or on the record. The judge is worried that comments leaking to the press could prejudice the jury in the case.
On multiple occasions during his interview, Sherwin said more serious sedition charges could eventually be filed against the rioters. He was directly asked why the more than 300 criminal cases that have been brought forward don’t include sedition, he said:
“I personally believe the evidence is trending towards that, and probably meets those elements. I believe the facts do support those charges. And I think that, as we go forward, more facts will support that.”
According to media reports, Sherwin didn’t get departmental approval to speak publicly on the matter of the Capitol riot cases. The DOJ has prohibitions on employees speaking on investigations that are ongoing, and no charges of sedition have yet to be filed.
Crabb also said in court on Tuesday that the DOJ referred the anonymous comments made to the New York Times for an investigation. The Times story cited “law enforcement officials briefed on the deliberations.”
The DOJ has a professional responsibility unit that can review these cases and others regarding personnel in the department. They can also make recommendations on whether people who have violated policies should face any consequences.
The defense lawyers in the Oath Keepers case said “60 Minutes” contacted them multiple times before they aired the segment with Sherwin. One of those lawyers, Carmen Hernandez, said:
“I thought the comments by Mr. Sherwin were very prejudicial.”
We’ll see how well the judge, and the DOJ, can keep these anonymous sources under wraps as the trials move on.