The judge who will sentence former George W. Bush administration official Scott Bloch wants more information from lawyers in the case, delaying the sentencing until Sept. 8.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson was scheduled to sentence Bloch today. At a hearing, she said she first wants prosecutors and Bloch’s attorney to clarify the applicable guidelines for Bloch’s sentence and fine, and how to adjust those based on Bloch’s acceptance of responsibility.
Bloch, who served in the little-known, independent position of U.S. special counsel, pleaded guilty in April to withholding information from Congress, a misdemeanor. The plea followed a criminal investigation that lasted more than two years and examined, among other things, Bloch’s hiring of “Geeks on Call” to delete computer files.
His stormy tenure in the office responsible for protecting whistleblowers included accusations that he retaliated against whistleblowers in his own office and that he discriminated against gay and lesbian employees.
Federal prosecutors, including Assistant U.S. Attorney Glenn Leon, said they would not oppose probation for Bloch, but they also requested a $5,000 fine and 200 hours of community service. Winston & Strawn partner William Sullivan Jr., who represents Bloch, proposed probation, a $2,000 fine and 100 hours of service.
Robinson said that the lawyers failed in their briefs to make clear what the sentencing guidelines are. For example, federal probation officials put the range at one to six months, but the lawyers said in court papers that there is no mandatory minimum and that the range is zero to six months.
Leon and Sullivan said in court that they largely agree on Bloch’s sentence, but Robinson said their agreement is irrelevant to the underlying law and guidelines. “That simply does not provide the court a basis for making a finding,” she said.