A former Michigan Assistant U.S. Attorney should be allowed to pursue his violation of privacy lawsuit against the Department of Justice, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday.
Richard Convertino, who has been feuding with the Justice Department since 2003, claims his right to privacy was violated after the department allegedly leaked information about an ethics investigation into the former prosecutor.
Convertino won convictions against two suspected terrorists in 2003, but the convictions were thrown out over allegations that he did not disclose favorable evidence to the defense. The Office of Professional Responsibility, the Justice Department’s internal watchdog, launched an investigation into Convertino’s conduct.
Detroit Free Press reporter David Ashenfelter reported in 2004, citing unnamed sources, that the Justice Department was examining Convertino’s conduct. Convertino filed a lawsuit against the department, claiming his bosses purposefully leaked the information.
Eventually, OPR’s investigation ended with no formal findings. But the battle was far from over: The department brought criminal charges of obstruction of justice against Convertino for allegedly hiding photos from defense attorneys that might have overturned his 2003 prosecutions. However, the case was dismissed in 2007.
More recently, Convertino suffered a setback in 2011 after a federal judge ruled in favor of the department, granting a motion to throw out Convertino’s lawsuit against the department.
On Friday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that Convertino can pursue his lawsuit against the department, saying there is ample evidence to suggest that additional investigation could reveal the source’s identity.