Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island’
Monday, January 11th, 2010

Gerard Sullivan (ABC)

A Rhode Island Assistant U.S. Attorney who was charged with refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test and driving under the influence had the second charged dismissed today, The Associated Press reports.

Warwick, R.I., city solicitor Robert Sgroi recommended the charge be dropped in part because because Sullivan last week admitted there was enough evidence to prove he refused the breathalyzer and because he has already lost his license. Earlier today, a Warwick, R.I., judge agreed to Sgroi’s request.

On Thanksgiving morning, Gerard B. Sullivan was stopped by police in Warwick, R.I.,  after two motorists contacted police about the driver of a BMW — identified as Sullivan — who they said was driving erratically. Sullivan was charged with failing to take a breathalyzer test, but he was not initially charged with driving under the influence. The police report said Sullivan informed the officers of his prosecutorial job numerous times, told the officers he knew the police chief and asked if there was “anything he could do.” He has had his driver’s license revoked for seven months, The AP reports.

In addition to an internal investigation being conducted in the police department, the Justice Department is also conducting an investigation into whether Sullivan attempted to use his position to avoid the DUI charge.

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

A Rhode Island Assistant U.S. Attorney who was charged with refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test and driving under the influence surrendered his driver’s license on Tuesday as his case proceeds in traffic court, The Associated Press reports.

On Thanksgiving morning, Gerard B. Sullivan was stopped by police in Warwick, R.I.,  after two motorists contacted police about the driver of a BMW — identified as Sullivan — who they said was driving erratically. Sullivan was charged with failing to take a breathalyzer test, but he was not initially charged with driving under the influence. The police report said Sullivan informed the officers of his prosecutorial job numerous times, told the officers he knew the police chief and asked if there was “anything he could do.”

The incident is being investigated by the Justice Department.

Sullivan was ordered by a Traffic Tribunal judge to give up his license as the case proceeds in traffic court, the AP reports.

Monday, December 7th, 2009
Gerard Sullivan (ABC)

Gerard Sullivan (ABC)

The Justice Department is conducting an investigation into a Rhode Island Assistant U.S. Attorney who was charged with refusing a breathalyzer test and driving under the influence, according to Warwick Police Chief Col. Stephen M. McCartney. The Providence Journal reports.

On Thanksgiving morning, Gerard B. Sullivan was stopped by police after two motorists contacted police about the driver of a BMW — identified as Sullivan — who they said was driving erratically. Sullivan was charged with failing to take a breathalyzer test, but he was not initially charged with driving under the influence. The police report said Sullivan informed the officers of his prosecutorial job numerous times, told the officers he knew the police chief and asked if there was “anything he could do.”

Of the five people in Warwick, R.I., who were charged with refusing to take a breath test over the long holiday weekend, Sullivan was the only one also not charged with the more serious offense, driving under the influence.  The prosecutor claimed he didn’t attempt to use his position to avoid the DUI charge, which is more serious than the breath-test violation. Following news reports that suggested Sullivan had received lenient treatment because of his job, he was charged with a DUI.

Although a spokeswoman for DOJ’s Office of the Inspector General last week would not confirm or deny that Sullivan was under review for possibly attempting to use his position to avoid the charge, on Monday Warwick’s Chief McCartney said an employee from the Inspector General’s Office contacted him last week, The Providence Journal reports.

McCartney told the newspaper, “They’re doing their own independent investigation, but they did ask for everything regarding the Sullivan investigation, to include the internal review,”  adding, “I promised them I’d give them 300 percent cooperation, and I think it’s wholly appropriate.”

The police chief told the newspaper the department will turn over its information regarding why Sullivan was not initially charged with a DUI. “We’ve got other areas of evidence that have to be looked at, and all I want is a thorough investigation.”

He also welcomed an out-of-state external investigation as to why Sullivan wasn’t initially charged. McCartney told The Providence Journal, “I just think it would be very difficult to have any outside agency in the state of Rhode Island review this case, so I’m glad the Department of Justice is reviewing.”

Friday, December 4th, 2009
Gerard Sullivan (ABC)

Gerard Sullivan (ABC)

A Rhode Island Assistant U.S. Attorney was charged today with driving under the influence, after initially being accused of a lesser violation, the Warwick Police Department announced Friday. Read The Associated Press report here.

The DUI charge comes after a drumbeat of local news reports in recent days suggested the federal prosecutor had received lenient treatment because of his job. “I think we’ve got a public confidence problem right now, and we’ve got to deal with it,” Warwick, R.I., Police Chief Stephen McCartney told the local ABC television affiliate.

On Thanksgiving, Gerard B. Sullivan was pulled over after two motorists contacted police about the driver of a BMW — identified as Sullivan — who they said was driving erratically. Sullivan was charged with failing to take a breathalyzer test, but he was not initially charged with driving under the influence.

The police report said Sullivan informed the officers of his prosecutorial job numerous times, told the officers he knew the police chief and asked if there was “anything he could do.”

Of the five people in Warwick, R.I., who were charged with refusing to take a breath test over the long holiday weekend, Sullivan was the only one also not charged with the more serious parallel offense, driving under the influence.  The prosecutor claimed he didn’t attempt to use his position to avoid the DUI charge, which is more serious than the breath-test violation.

The local Rhode Island ABC affiliate also reported that Sullivan was arrested Nov. 1 about 12:30 a.m. in Myrtle Beach, S.C., outside the Senor Frog’s, a restaurant and bar. The TV station said there is no police report of the incident, but that Sullivan paid a $150 fine.

Here is a local Rhode Island TV news report about Sullivan:

UPDATE: Sullivan earlier today pleaded not guilty to his DUI charge, The AP reports. He was released after promising to appear at his Dec. 15 hearing.

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Police are investigating whether a Rhode Island Assistant U.S. Attorney used his position to avoid a driving-under-the-influence charge, the Associated Press reports.

Two motorists on Thanksgiving morning contacted police in Warwick, R.I., about the driver of a BMW — identified as Gerard B. Sullivan — who they said was driving erratically. After Sullivan was pulled over, he allegedly informed the officers multiple times about his job. According to AP, Sullivan also told the officers he knew the police chief and asked if there was “anything he could do.” He failed a field sobriety test but was not charged with driving under the influence, according to the AP story.

Warwick Police Chief Stephen McCartney on Wednesday told AP that police are investigating whether Sullivan attempted to avoid being charged with a DUI after failing field sobriety tests and refusing a breathalyzer. Kevin Bristow, Sullivan’s attorney, told the AP that although the Assistant U.S. Attorney made a mistake and is embarrassed, he did not attempt to use his job to influence police.

Bristow told the AP, “Does he regret driving the vehicle? Yeah, very much so. It’s a mistake that he made, and you know, he’s paying an extraordinary price,” adding, “You can read the paper, listen to the airwaves. It could take a professional toll, and certainly it’s taking a personal toll.”

Although it is the Warwick Police Department’s policy to charge people who refuse to submit to a breathalizyer test with DUI “if the circumstances are corroborated,” Sullivan was charged only with refusing to take the breath test, The AP reports. As to the question of his attempt to influence the officers,  McCartney told AP, “The fact that he did even mention my name casts questions here.”

Bristow told AP that Sullivan will not contest the charge of refusing the breathalyzer test.

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

A Rhode Island Assistant U.S. Attorney last week was charged with refusing to take a chemical breath test after driving erratically, The Providence Journal reports.

Two drivers on Thanksgiving morning contacted police about the driver of a BMW — identified as Gerard B. Sullivan — who they said appeared “out of it,” and was “driving all over the road,” the newspaper said.

After Sullivan was pulled over, he informed the officers multiple times of his job, according to a police report, the newspaper said.

Sullivan also told the officers he knew the police chief and asked if there was “anything he could do,” The Providence Journal reported. Of the five people in Warwick, R.I., charged with refusing to take a breath test over the long holiday weekend, Sullivan was the only one also not charged with another offense, driving under the influence, according to the  newspaper.

Warwick police chief Col. Stephen M. McCartney on Tuesday told The Providence Journal he only knows Sullivan professionally. He also told the newspaper that he was unaware of Sullivan’s arrest until The Providence Journal called him.

“But I don’t think the fact he was a public official had any bearing on the arrest the officers made,” McCartney told The Providence Journal. ”He was treated like anybody else — and had all the circumstances been there, I think they would have double-charged.”

McCartney also told the newspaper that arresting officer Russell Brown did not have enough evidence to substantiate a driving under the influence charge — a more serious offense than failing to take a breath test — even though Brown in his police report wrote that Sullivan was “coming from the tavern” and had “a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage.”

The police told The Providence Journal that the Assistant U.S. Attorney is scheduled to appear before the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal on Dec. 18 to face the chemical-test charge.

Thomas Connell, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha, told The Providence Journal that Sullivan was on “travel status” Tuesday, adding that the state’s top federal prosecutor was aware of the charge against Sullivan.

“Warwick police are handling that and this office, in consultation with the Department of Justice, will address any administrative consequences that may result,” Connell told the newspaper.

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

Robert Corrente (Burns & Levinson LLP)

Robert Corrente (Burns & Levinson LLP)

As the Republican party debates its future, Robert Corrente, a former U.S. Attorney in Rhode Island, announced he will not run for governor next year on a third-party ticket, The Providence Journal reported.

Corrente met last month with leaders of the new Moderate Party to discuss a possible gubernatorial run. But he rejected the overtures. “I’m not going to do it,” Corrente told The Journal. “It’s certainly an interesting landscape for next year, and the whole race looks intriguing, but it’s not a good time for me, given where I am in my career.” Corrente said he needs a private sector salary to put another child through college.

President George W. Bush appointed Corrente to be Rhode Island’s top federal prosecutor in 2004. He retired earlier this year to become a partner at Burns & Levinson LLP.

Corrente’s flirtation with the Moderate Party comes as Republicans are groping and arguing their way toward a new winning formula. Conservatives who helped drive moderates out of the party over the last 15 years are demanding orthodoxy from Republican nominees. But candidates who tack too far to the right are losing, while those who stick to the center are getting elected.

Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman was defeated in a special election Tuesday to fill an upstate New York House seat after conservatives drove a more centrist Republican, Dede Scozzava, out of the race. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) rallied for the center by supporting Scozzava, while 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, a conservative standard-bearer, backed Hoffman.

But in Virginia, Republican Bob McDonnell, a conservative Christian who earned a master’s degree at televangelist Pat Robertson’s Regent University, downplayed divisive social issues like abortion and instead emphasized job-creation. McDonnell won decisively over his Democratic rival Tuesday.

Rhode Island is closely associated with the dying brand of moderate Republicanism. The late Sen. John Chaffee (R-R.I.) was a leader of a vocal group of moderate Senate Republicans in the 1990s. He was succeeded in the Senate by his son, Lincoln Chafee, who often took positions that were more liberal than some Democrats. But Chafee was defeated for reelection in 2006 by Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse. Now, the Senate’s club of moderate GOPers is now down to just two: Maine Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins.

Corrente informed the Moderate Party of his decision during a private meeting Monday. “I think it’s critically important that we have a credible opposition party,” Corrente told The Journal, adding that he’s “thinking about” changing his official party affiliation to Moderate. The party’s executive director, Christine Hunsinger, last month referred to Corrente as a “recovering Republican.”

Current Gov. Don Carcieri (R) is term-limited and cannot run for re-election. Other candidates in the race for governor include state Rep. Joe Trillo (R), state treasurer Frank Caprio (D), state Attorney General Patrick Lynch (D) and ex-Sen. Lincoln Chafee, who is running as an independent.

Also of note is attorney Bob Healey Jr., who is running on the Cool Moose ticket. According to the party platform posted on Healey’s Web site, the Cool Moose party stands for “as limited a government intrusion into private life as possible.”

Sunday, October 25th, 2009
Eric Holder (DOJ)

Eric Holder (DOJ)

Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday announced nine appointees to the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorneys.

In August, Holder tapped Minnesota U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones to chair the committee, an influential policy-making and advisory body that serves as the voice of the U.S. Attorneys at Main Justice.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, of Illinois’ Northern District, served as interim chairman before Jones was confirmed. Chicago’s top prosecutor, a Republican appointee who has been recommended for a second tour of duty, will remain on the committee.

The nine new members are listed below. Click on their names for a summary of their Senate questionnaires.

  • Preet Bharara, of the Southern District of New York
  • Dennis Burke, of Arizona
  • Jenny Durkan, of the Western District of Washington
  • Paul Fishman, of New Jersey
  • Neil MacBride, of the Eastern District of Virginia
  • Peter Neronha, of Rhode Island
  • Joyce Vance, of the Northern District of Alabama
  • Channing Phillips, acting U.S attorney in the District of Columbia
  • John Davis, chief of the criminal division of the federal prosecutors’ office in Alexandria, will represent the views of Assistant U.S. Attorneys.

They will each serve two-year terms.

The Senate so far has confirmed 18 of 93 U.S. Attorneys. One nominee is waiting for approval by the full Senate, and 11 more await a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Holder, in a statement, said he would rely heavily on the the AGAC as the department works to curb violent crime and gang violence, promote civil rights, police the marketplace and protect national security.

The AGAC’s other members, who were appointed during the Bush administration, include U.S. Attorney Leura Canary, of  Middle District of Alabama; Rod Rosenstein, of Maryland; Brett Tolman, of Utah; and Gretchen Witt, the civil chief in the District of New Hampshire.

Regulations require only that the committee have an “appropriate” number of members.