On Wednesday, a federal judge weighed in on the Office of the Attorney General’s conduct in a Pershing Park civil suit. Plaintiffs attorneys alleged that critical pieces of evidence had been destroyed, doctored and lost as a result of the AG’s incompetence or worse. Judge Emmet G. Sullivan‘s ruling was clear: he called the evidence problems “abuse” and wondered if residents could even trust the District government.
“It raises serious questions about when, if ever, can anyone trust their government,” Sullivan stated.
Sullivan promised that the sanctions he would impose would be painful. He has ordered AG Peter Nickles to submit a sworn statement explaining how the evidence could have gotten lost and turned up severely doctored. The judge also called on the D.C. Council to get involved.
Today, Councilmember Mary Cheh tells City Desk that Nickles should resign.
“I think he should resign,” Cheh says. “I don’t think he should have ever been appointed…You start messing with a federal judge in a case where you are hiding evidence or destroying evidence—-that’s gone to a new level.”
Cheh would like to see the council investigate the Office of the Attorney General’s conduct in this case.
“I had a conversation with [Councilmember Phil Mendelson] after the judge had his encounter with the AG’s office,” Cheh says. ” I do believe he is also interested in it. How it will proceed, what we will do I’m not sure. This is a really shocking breach of faith…It’s lawless. I can’t get my jaw up from the ground it’s dropped so far.”
When reached for comment, Mendelson says he is “definitely” looking into opening up an investigation.
“The D.C. Attorney General is supposed to be protecting this city not increasing our liability,” Mendelson says.
Nickles failed to return phone calls seeking comment.
*photo by Darrow Montgomery.