David Shepardson / The Detroit News
PLYMOUTH -- Richard G. Convertino, a
former federal prosecutor whose handing of the 2003 Detroit terrorism
trial is the subject of a federal grand jury investigation, expects to
be indicted soon, his spokesman said.
W. Edward Wendover, a
former publisher of the Plymouth Community Crier who is handling
Convertino's press relations, said Convertino plans to...
discuss his whistleblower lawsuit and the Justice Department's investigation at 1 p.m. today in Plymouth.
expecting to be indicted," Wendover said this afternoon. "Apparently,
it's about his ninth-grade transcripts," Wendover said dryly.
said Convertino's grade-school transcripts had been subpoenaed in the
Justice Department's extensive investigation. "He is glad his
whistleblower lawsuit is being allowed to proceed and that he is upset
to say it politely about the leaks into the grand jury investigation."
was referring to a Feb. 19 report in The Detroit News that a special
grand jury sitting in Detroit was near the end of its investigation
into whether three government officials conspired to obstruct justice
and suborn perjury in the 2003 Detroit terrorism trial, officials
familiar with the case told The News.
Under investigation is
Convertino, along with the FBI Special Agent Michael Thomas and another
witness in the trial, U.S. State Department security officer Harry
In June 2003, Convertino won a conviction against
two Detroit men on terrorism charges. The case, which claimed four Arab
immigrants were part of a sleeper cell, was the nation's first terror
trial after the September 11 attacks.
The convictions were tossed
out in 2004 after a Justice Department review found prosecutors
suppressed evidence that might have bolstered the defendants' claims of
The special grand jury has heard from numerous
witnesses in the last six months, ranging from prosecutors to defense
attorneys to an office paralegal, according to several people familiar
with the proceedings. By law, grand jury deliberations are secret.
has retained prominent Detroit defense attorney Steven Fishman for the
criminal investigation. He is separately represented by Richard L.
Swick in Washington, D.C., in an internal matter.
Smith has hired Thomas Cranmer, a well-known defense attorney and current president of the Michigan State Bar.
the terror convictions, Convertino was removed from the terror case in
September 2003. In February 2004 he filed a whistleblower lawsuit
against then-Attorney General John Ashcroft and Justice Department
officials in Detroit, claiming they leaked an internal disciplinary
report and "mismanaged the war on terrorism."
U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth dismissed half of the lawsuit in October.
Justice Department in a court filing earlier this month made its
strongest statement to date suggesting it was seriously considering
Government attorney Rupa Bhattacharyya
agreed to finally allow Convertino's whistleblower suit to proceed, as
long as it is "managed in a way that does not endanger the ongoing
investigation or any subsequent criminal proceedings."
You can reach David Shepardson at (313) 222-2028 or firstname.lastname@example.org.