Paula A. Sweeney – Prosecutorial Misconduct
in United States of America v. Deborah Gore Dean
(May 4, 2009; rev. Aug.11, 2009)
This and other items under the Misconduct Profiles page of jpscanlan.com are adjuncts to that site’s main Prosecutorial Misconduct page (PMP), which addresses prosecutorial abuses in United States of America v. Deborah Gore Dean, Criminal. No. 92-181-TFH (D.D.C.). The treatment below assumes a general familiarity with the subject of that material and frequently references parts of the material, with links provided to such parts. It is recommended that the reader review Sections B.1, B.3, and B.4 of PMP the Robert E. O’Neill profile in conjunction with the review of this profile. But a detailed understanding of the material on PMP ought not to be essential to an appraisal of the conduct described here.
Paula A. Sweeney, a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and Duke University Law School, joined the Office of Independent Counsel in approximately January 1991. Before joining the Office of Independent Counsel, she held, among others, positions as Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York and associate with the firm of Shea & Gardner in Washington, DC. Shea & Gardner is the firm where Deputy Independent Counsel Bruce C. Swartz had been a partner before joining the Office of Independent Counsel in the spring of 1990, and, according to the former Independent Counsel document manager discussed in Section B.9 of the main Prosecutorial Misconduct page (PMP) page, Swartz was responsible for the hiring of Sweeney.
Sweeney was the second chair of the Independent Counsel trial team in the prosecution of Deborah Gore Dean, initially working with lead counsel Jo Ann Harris and later with lead counsel Robert E. O’Neill. While working with Harris, Sweeney was presumably involved in drafting the Superseding Indictment that contained various statements or inferences contradicted by materials in Independent Counsel files. Those persuaded by information on this site (among other places, in Sections B.3 and B.4 of PMP), that at the direction of Jo Ann Harris (supervised by Independent Counsel Arlin M. Adams and Deputy Independent Counsel Bruce C. Swartz) Independent Counsel attorneys undertook to fabricate a case against Deborah Gore Dean at least with respect to the allegations concerning former Attorney General John N. Mitchell – as I expect most or all intelligent readers will be – must conclude that Sweeney was a central party to this conduct.
As shown in various places, the withholding of exculpatory information was crucial to this scheme. As discussed in the profile of Jo Ann Harris, had Judge Gesell’s instruction that exculpatory information to be provided to the defense "right away, as soon as you know it," such materials would have had to be provided to the defense contemporaneously with issuance of the Superseding Indictment. Sweeney’s displeasure with the ruling is reflected in the following, as recorded by the former Independent Counsel document manager discussed in Section B.9 of PMP:
Gerhard A. Gesell, the Judge who had been assigned to the Dean matter dies. When news reaches the OIC, AIC Sweeney and LRA [ … ] laugh and jest’s [sic] that if the newly assigned Judge to the Dean trial does not rule favorably for the OIC then he will get the same treatment Gesell got.
As discussed in the Jo Ann Harris profile, as well as the profiles of Bruce C. Swartz and Robert E. O’Neill and many other places, Independent Counsel attorney utterly disregarded Judge Gesell’s order and their doing so would play importantly in their efforts to prove many things at trial that those attorneys believed, or knew for certain, to be false. As discussed in Section A.4 of the Park Towers Appendix and in Part I of my complaint to the District of Columbia Bar Counsel, Sweeney is the Independent Counsel attorney who made false representations to the Honorable Thomas F. Hogan in defending the Independent Counsel’s late production of the August 20, 1993 listing of certain exculpatory statements.[i]
As shown in Section B.2 of the Park Towers Appendix, Sweeney is also the Independent Counsel attorney who elicited sworn testimony from witness Eli Feinberg that he was unaware of John Mitchell’s involvement in the Park Towers, which testimony was contrary to the repeated statements the Independent Counsel’s immunized witness Richard Shelby had made to Bruce C. Swartz and Robert E. O’Neill. Independent Counsel attorneys failed to make a Brady disclosure of Shelby’s statements and, more important, failed to confront Feinberg with the information suggesting or indicating that the testimony Sweeney would elicit from him was false. The failure to confront Feinberg was presumably prompted by a concern that confronting Feinberg would cause him to admit that the testimony Sweeney desired to elicit was false.
The Feinberg testimony would then underlie Robert E. O’Neill’s provocative claim in closing argument that Mitchell’s involvement with the Park Towers project had been concealed from Feinberg and developer Martin Fine and that the secrecy reflected in such concealment was “the hallmark of conspiracy.” See Robert E. O’Neill profile (at ). As discussed in the Nunn Appendix, Sweeney would also herself orally refer on the supposed concealment of Mitchell’s involvement in opposing the judgment of acquittal following the presentation of the Independent Counsel’s case-in-chief. Tr. 2029-30. And she would sign the Independent Counsel’s Supplemental Opposition to Dean’s motions for acquittal that made the same point (at 17 n.18). In the same place, while knowing with absolute certainty that Mitchell’s involvement in the Arama project had not been concealed from Arama developer Aristides Martinez, she would also maintain that Mitchell’s involvement in that project was concealed from Martinez. Further, given the responsibilities she shared with O’Neill, it would seem impossible to fabricate Government Exhibit 25 (as discussed in the Nunn Appendix, the Robert E. O’Neill profile, and Section B.9a of PMP) without Sweeney’s involvement.
It is not known what direct involvement Sweeney may have had with regard to the eliciting of Agent Cain’s testimony that was intended to lead the jury and the court falsely to believe that Dean had lied about calling Cain in April 1989 (the subject of Section B.1 of PMP). But as discussed in the May 31, 2008 document styled “The Independent Counsel’s Use of Dean’s Off-the-Stand Remark about David Barrett and the Judge,” Sweeney did participate in attempting to undermine Dean’s credibility just before Agent Cain testified. Sweeney also would be the first Independent Counsel attorney in some manner to rely on Agent Cain’s testimony in post-trial proceedings. In an October 29, 1993 Supplemental Opposition to Dean’s motion for acquittal, Sweeney would rely on Dean’s testimony about the call and Cain’s contradiction thereof as affirmative evidence that Dean was aware of Mitchell’s HUD consultant. In doing so, even though Cain’s testimony had been elicited on the basis that his denial of recollection of the call from Dean applied only to a certain day, Sweeney would ignore this nicety, stating (at 14):
In this regard, the jury was entitled to consider defendant’s testimony that she was shocked upon learning of the payments to Mitchell when she received the HUD-IG Report, and that she expressed her anger to HUD IG agent Al Cain, Tr. 2617; and the jury was further entitled to consider Agent Cain’s testimony that this conversation never occurred. Tr. 3199.
Sweeney’s use of the testimony in this manner occurred before Dean filed her Rule 33 Motion of November 30, 1993, with which Dean provided information that she could have only learned from the call to Cain. Sweeney apparently had left the Office of Independent Counsel by the time Independent Counsel attorneys were required to respond to Dean’s arguments concerning the Cain testimony and hence was not necessarily involved with the efforts to deceive the court in responding to Dean’s allegations on the matter. As discussed in Section B.11a of PMP, however, I did raise the Cain matter in a complaint against Sweeney and others with the District of Columbia Office of Bar Counsel. At present I am precluded from stating whether Sweeney sought to deceive Bar Counsel in responding to the matter, as Bruce C. Swartz had done in the District Court. But nothing prevents Sweeney from discussing how she may have responded to the complaint or whether her response involved an effort to conceal from Bar Counsel that she (Sweeney) knew that, even though Independent Counsel attorneys knew that Dean had called Agent Cain just as she testified, Cain’s testimony was elicited on the basis that his seeming categorical contradiction of Dean would technically relate only to a particular date.
According to the former Independent Counsel document manager discussed in Section B.9, Sweeney employed Independent Counsel investigative resources to compile a chronology of Dean’s putative sex partners, which chronology was then displayed in Independent Counsel offices for the amusement of its staff. According to the former document manager, Sweeney, whose dislike for Dean was manifested in a variety of ways apart from the sex chronology, also wrote to a friend who taught at Georgetown University to attempt to secure Dean’s college transcripts.
Sweeney left the Office of Independent Counsel shortly after the trial to become Deputy General Counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency. I believe that she is still employed by that agency.
Addendum (August 11, 2009)
August 11, 2009 Google, Yahoo, and Bing searches for “’Paula A. Sweeney’” all yield this page as the first result. As with various addendums on other profiles, I note these facts as indications of the likelihood that my interpretation of the conduct of Paula A. Sweeney in the Dean prosecution case will become widely known among persons or entities having an interest in her.
[i] The profiles of Bruce C. Swartz and Jo Ann Harris profiles discuss the position the Independent Counsel most explicitly took on Brady disclosures of statements in witness interview – that is, that exculpatory information in materials that were to be produced during the trial in connection with a witness’s testifying (Jencks and Giglio materials) did not have to be provided to the defense prior to the production at the time the witness testified. At the August 31, 1993 hearing where Sweeney defended the failure to disclose any exculpatory material before August 20, 1993, Sweeney seemed initially to state something along the lines of that position. She stated (Tr. 12):
Your Honor, we believe that the material that has been provided is in the nature of Giglio, and we believe that that will be entirely clear when the Jencks productions on these particular witnesses are made available either this week or early next week.
But the court then asked, “You're basically saying they said different things at different times,” to which Sweeney responded: “Yes, Your Honor.”
After the court observed that the fact that witnesses changed their stories would not mean that the statements were not exculpatory when made, Sweeney state, albeit non-responsively:
Your Honor, as time progressed, these witnesses admitted that they had not been candid and had not been forthright, and these stories developed over time, and that really -- the witnesses will testify consistently with the indictment, and to that extent, Mr. Wehner and Ms. Dean's efforts
have not been for no avail. In Tarantino –
As shown in the Park Towers Appendix as well as Part I of the DC Bar complaint, that any witnesses changed their stories or admitted they had not been candid had nothing whatever to do with the Independent Counsel’s failure to disclose the statements prior to August 1993. Rather, as Bruce C. Swartz explicitly stated to Judge Silberman, the statements were not produced because Jo Ann Harris had taken the position noted above.