Scott Bloch, the former head of the Office of Special Counsel under the George W. Bush administration, was sentenced today to serve 24 months of probation and spend a day in jail. Bloch pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge of destroying government property after hiring an outside computer company to delete files from several work computers, including his own.
Bloch angled throughout the course of his case to avoid jail time. He originally pleaded guilty to a contempt of Congress charge, but successfully argued to withdraw the plea after learning he would face jail time, contrary to what both sides believed when they reached a deal. In late 2012, prosecutors charged Bloch with the related destruction of government property offense. Bloch asked for a sentence of probation, a fine and community service, which the government did not oppose.
At sentencing today, U.S. District Judge Robert Wilkins said that although the crime Bloch was charged with was relatively minor, he didn't feel Bloch had fully “come clean.” Bloch maintained that he wanted the computers wiped because he was concerned about viruses, but Wilkins said Bloch left too many questions unanswered about why he ordered the service for multiple computers. At the time, Bloch was facing a still-pending investigation by the Office of Personnel Management’s Office of Inspector General into allegations of retaliation against his employees; Bloch has said his handling of the computers was unrelated.