DOJ probe: Rollins tried to influence DA election, lied under oath

Outgoing U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins attempted to influence the race to fill her former position as Suffolk County district attorney by leaking non-public Department of Justice information and using her resources to damage the reputation of the candidate she opposed, a federal watchdog concluded in a new report.

The DOJ's inspector general on Wednesday published a 161-page summary of its investigation into multiple allegations of wrongdoing by Rollins, who announced a day earlier she plans to resign this week. In addition to criticizing Rollins' attendance at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser with First Lady Jill Biden and several other violations of ethical conduct standards, federal investigators said Rollins sought to assist Ricardo Arroyo in his ultimately unsuccessful bid to succeed her as Suffolk County district attorney. Rollins provided local media outlets with "non-public, sensitive DOJ information" in an effort to discredit then-Interim Suffolk DA Kevin Hayden, a Gov. Charlie Baker appointee who was running against Arroyo to secure a full term, the IG's report said.

She also tried and failed to "convince her First Assistant U.S. Attorney to issue a letter that would have created the impression that DOJ was investigating Hayden," according to the report.

"We also concluded that Rollins falsely testified under oath during her OIG interview when she denied that she was the federal law enforcement source that provided nonpublic, sensitive DOJ information to the Herald reporter about a possible Hayden criminal investigation," the report said. "Rollins only admitted to being the source during subsequent testimony after Rollins produced relevant text messages, which definitively showed that Rollins had indeed been a source for the reporter and had disclosed to him the internal DOJ recusal memorandum quoted in the story."

Through an attorney, Rollins announced Tuesday that she plans to submit a letter of resignation to President Joseph Biden by the end of the week, bringing to a sudden end her 16-month tenure as the top federal prosecutor in Massachusetts.

"We found Rollins's conduct described throughout this report violated federal regulations, numerous DOJ policies, her Ethics Agreement, and applicable law, and fell far short of the standards of professionalism and judgment that the Department should expect of any employee, much less a U.S. Attorney," the inspector general's office concluded. "We have provided a copy of this report to the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, the Executive Office for United States Attorneys, and the Professional Misconduct Review Unit for any action they deem appropriate."

Michael Bromwich, a former DOJ inspector general who is serving as Rollins's attorney, said on Tuesday that she would make herself available to answer questions "after the dust settles and she resigns."

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