Scott Bloch, the former head of the Office of Special Counsel who pleaded guilty this year to criminal contempt, should be sentenced to a year of probation and be ordered to perform 100 hours of community service, his lawyer said today.
Bloch’s defense attorney, William Sullivan Jr., said in court papers that Bloch has “served with distinction” in a variety of jobs, including his post as the head of the Office of Special Counsel and as a member of the Kansas Board of Discipline. Bloch resigned from OSC in late 2008 amid a federal investigation.
In April, Bloch pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor contempt count for concealing information from Congress about his effort to erase files on his government-issued computer and on two other OSC computers.
Sullivan is proposing a $2,000 fine in addition to 100 hours of community service. Federal prosecutors do not oppose a sentence of probation for Bloch, but the government wants a greater fine ($5,000) and for Bloch to perform 200 hours of community service.
“This case marks an unfortunate aberration for Mr. Bloch,” Sullivan, a Winston & Strawn partner in Washington, wrote in court papers filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
In the court papers, Sullivan writes about Bloch’s volunteer work in soup kitchens and his support for initiatives to address autism. Bloch has incurred substantial expenses because of the charge and will continue to do so in the future, Sullivan said.
Sullivan said a sentence of probation, combined with the fine and community service, “will impose a significant hardship on Mr. Bloch, and adequately serve the dual purpose of penalizing Mr. Bloch and deterring future conduct by others.”
Sentencing guidelines call for a prison sentence of zero to six months. The pre-sentence investigation said the charge carries a mandatory one-month prison sentence. Sullivan and the prosecution team both call the mandatory prison term “erroneous.”
Yesterday, whistleblower groups and some former employees of OSC said a sentence of probation for Bloch is not strong enough.
Bloch’s lawyer sent 35 pages of letters to Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson, who is scheduled to preside over sentencing Friday. Click here for the letters, which include notes from Bloch’s wife, close friends and former co-workers. Bloch’s resignation letter is also included in the mix.
Christopher Bouquet, a solo practitioner in Alexandria, Va., who specializes in government contracts law, met Bloch about five years ago at St. Louis Catholic Church in Virginia. Bouquet, in a letter to the court, said he and Bloch worked closely on the church’s capital campaign.
And Bloch has helped Bouquet in his law practice, including “the analysis and drafting of complex contract provisions.” Bloch and Bouquet have also worked as co-counsel on several litigation matters, according to Bouquet’s letter.
“In these cases, the breadth of his experience and skills as a litigator was evident,” Bouquet wrote. “I was also impressed by his ability to formulate and articulate themes and strategies for the cases. In his specialty of employment law, Scott is a master.”
Bouquet said he will continue to refer employment law matters to Bloch.