Robert J. Meyer – Prosecutorial Misconduct in
United States of America v. Deborah Gore Dean
(July 11, 2009; rev. Aug. 13, 2009)
Note: This and other items under the Misconduct Profiles page of jpscanlan.com are adjuncts to the site’s main Prosecutorial Misconduct page, 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 Section B.1 of PMP and the Bruce C. Swartz profile in conjunction with the review of this profile. But a detailed understanding of that material ought not to be essential to an appraisal of the conduct described here.
Robert J. Meyer is a 1982 graduate of Boston University and a 1985 graduate of the University of Virginia Law School, where he served as the notes editor of the Virginia Law Review. Following law school, Meyer served as law clerk to the Honorable George E. MacKinnon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and as an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Columbia. At some point prior to joining the Office of Independent Counsel at an unknown date, Meyer also worked for the firm of Shea & Gardner, and thus, as in the case of Paula A. Sweeney, Bruce C. Swartz may have had some role in Meyer’s hire at the Office of Independent Counsel.
Meyer co-authored with Bruce C. Swartz, and personally signed, the Independent Counsel’s Opposition to the Rule 33 motion filed by Deborah Gore Dean in November 1993 in which Dean sought, inter alia, a new trial and discovery into whether Supervisory Special Agent Alvin R. Cain, Jr. committed perjury with knowledge of Independent Counsel attorneys. Meyer is also as co-author (with Arlin M. Adams and Bruce C. Swartz) of the Independent Counsel’s appellate brief (though by the time the latter document was filed on September 16, 1994, Meyer had left the Office of Independent Counsel). To the extent that those documents contain efforts to deceive the courts and express or implied representations that are false, as detailed in the Introduction and Summary and other materials provided to the Department of Justice on December 1, 1994, Meyer presumably bears substantial responsibility for those matters.
One matter, which is given great attention in Section B.1 of the main Prosecutorial Misconduct page (PMP), as well as in the profile pages on Bruce C. Swartz and Robert E. O’Neill and a December 17, 1997 letter to Meyer himself, warrants a few words. That section and related materials explain that subsequent to my providing the December 1, 1994 materials to the Department of Justice, I came to understand that Bruce C. Swartz and Robert E. O’Neill had pressured Agent Cain into providing testimony that would seem to directly contradict Dean’s emotional testimony about calling Agent Cain when the HUD Inspector General’s Report was issued in April 1989. The seeming contradiction then would enable O’Neill to provocatively assert that Dean had lied by testifying that she called Cain when, on the day the report came out, she read the report’s mention that John Mitchell had earned a HUD consulting fee. Though Cain remembered the call, he apparently had been persuaded by O’Neill and Swartz that his testimony would be literally true because it would be crafted to technically mean that his denial of a recollection of a call from Dean would apply to April 17, 1989 (the date the HUD Inspector General’s Report was issued internally at HUD) rather the day near the end of the month when the report was released to the public and Dean received a copy. It is in light of those circumstances, and Meyer’s undoubted knowledge of those circumstances, that one must appraise Meyer’s effort to persuade the court that Dean had in fact lied about the call and that her challenge to Cain’s testimony was a vile act (as discussed both in the Introduction and Summary and the Cain Narrative Appendix). Particularly warranting note is the following treatment in the Opposition.
In a section that asserts by way of introduction (at 58) that Dean’s claims that certain witnesses had lied and Independent Counsel attorneys “’sought to preclude the revelation of false testimony’” and ‘cover it up,’” are “reckless and groundless … attacks on the integrity of the prosecution,” the Opposition states (at 73):
Agent Cain, a career government employee, is currently a Supervisory Special Agent for the HUD Office of Inspector General. He has been detailed to the Office of Independent Counsel. Defendant would have this Court conclude not only that Special Agent Cain deliberately perjured himself, but that he did so with the complicity of this Office.
Such a charge should not be lightly made; and a false charge of this nature should not be dealt with lightly. As we show below, defendant's allegations against Agent Cain constitute at best a wholly unfounded and reckless slander against a career employee of the United States. But, as we further show, there is evidence here that defendant's allegations are not merely reckless, but perjurious and a deliberate fraud upon the Court.
Given that Meyer knew that Swartz and O’Neill had pressured Cain into giving testimony that listeners would interpret to directly contradict testimony of Dean that Meyer knew to be true – thus causing Dean to believe that Cain must have lied – the outrage that Meyer expresses concerning this attack on the integrity of a career government employee is certainly feigned. And just as certainly it is feigned as part of an effort to cover up Independent Counsel conduct that Meyer would have expected the court to regard as unconscionable whether or not Meyer himself regarded it as unconscionable.[i] Further, this effort to deceive the court was part of an effort to forestall inquiry into whether a government witness committed perjury at the urging of government attorneys. Thus, such effort, collectively engaged in by Meyer, Swartz, and other Independent Counsel attorneys including Independent Counsel Arlin M. Adams himself, very likely constituted obstruction of justice or other federal crimes.
On the strength of Meyer’s background, including that he had been co-lead counsel in the investigation and prosecution of the Dean case (as Meyer apparently represented himself to be) as well as recommendations from Meyer’s superiors at the Office of Independent Counsel and elsewhere, by memorandum of June 3, 1994, Lee J. Radek, chief of the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, recommended that Meyer be hired as trial attorney in that section. If Jo Ann Harris, who was then head of the Criminal Division (and whose conduct with regard to the failure to disclose exculpatory materials and other abuses Meyer had defended in the Independent Counsel’s Opposition to Dean’s Rule 33 motion) had any role in the selection of Meyer, it is not apparent in the Radek memorandum. Meyer then resigned from the Office of Independent Counsel by letter of July 8, 1994, and assumed a position in the Public Integrity Section effective July 18, 1994.
One might be inclined to assume that the same ethics and regard for truth that underlay the documents Meyer co-authored in the Dean case subsequently informed his conduct as a prosecutor for the Public Integrity Section. But inasmuch as those documents were co-authored by Swartz, and were in substantial part devoted to efforts to cover up conduct with which Swartz was deeply involved, one cannot fairly assume that those documents are indicative of the way Meyer would conduct himself in the Public Integrity Section. At the same time, the fact of those documents and Meyer’s signing of one of them preclude an observer from regarding Meyer as a principled prosecutor or what most people would consider a person of integrity, whether or not, from an ethical perspective, one should place Meyer on a level with Swartz and O’Neill.
Further, one must consider Meyer’s conduct in assuming responsibility for the Dean case (which he did by motion of July 14, 1999) when the case was transferred to the Public Integrity Section and when he sought to have the case resolved by a motion of September 1, 1999 seeking a status conference. When in 1993 and 1994 Meyer sought to deceive the courts in opposing Dean’s motion for a new trial, he was attempting to cover up conduct of Swartz and others with which, so far as is known, Meyer was not himself personally involved. Moreover, Meyer was acting at the direction of his superiors within the Office of Independent Counsel. The fact of such direction does not exonerate Meyer, but at least he cannot be said to have been deceiving his superiors.
When he took over the case in 1999 for the Public Integrity Section, the situation was somewhat different. At issue in Dean’s pending motions was not only the underlying prosecutorial misconduct, but Independent Counsel actions in deceiving the courts in order to cover up that conduct. Meyer was himself substantially involved in the latter matter. Thus, in seeking to cause the nature of the latter conduct to go undiscovered Meyer would have been seeking to cover up his own conduct and doing so without his superiors’ necessarily being aware of what he was doing.
At any rate, Meyer certainly had a responsibility to advise his superiors in the Public Integrity Section of the true nature of the underlying conduct and of efforts by himself and others to deceive the courts in the matter. More likely, however, Meyer subordinated his responsibility to the Public Integrity Section to his own career prospects and his own interest in keeping the nature of his conduct concealed from his superiors in the Public Integrity Section as well as from the courts.
I first raised a question of Meyer’s fitness to represent the United States by letter of August 3, 1998, to Lee J. Radek, Chief of the Public Integrity Section. By letter of August 20, 1998, Radek advised that he was forwarding the matter to the Office of Professional Responsibility. The Department of Justice never specifically responded with respect to my concerns about Meyer, save as might be implied by the letter from H. Marshall Jarrett dated December 20, 1999 (and which was sent after Meyer had been placed in charge of the Dean case). See my January 22, 2000 response to the Jarrett letter as well as Section B.8 of PMP.
My letter to Meyer dated December 17, 1999 provides a relatively a succinct summary of the Cain matter that includes discussion of the implications of Cain testimony’s being put forward on the basis that it was literally true notwithstanding that Dean had called Cain and Cain remembered the call. It also addresses, in light of such fact, the nature of the Independent Counsel’s response to Dean’s allegations. Following a discussion of the matter, I posed to Meyer the following question (at 13):
Did you seek to lead the court to believe that Deborah Gore Dean had not called Agent Cain to ask about a check in April 1989 even though you knew not only that she had called Agent Cain but that he remembered the call?
Among other things, I also addressed with Meyer his responsibility to inform his superiors of the true nature of his actions in the Dean case and of his duty of absolute candor in doing so. And I advised him that if the matter was not satisfactorily addressed in the current administration, I would take it up with the next administration.
Meyer never responded to my December 17, 1999 letter. But at some point in the year 2000, Meyer left the Department of Justice. For a time thereafter he was a partner in the firm of Foley & Lardner in Washington, DC. He is currently a partner in the firm of Willkie Farr & Gallagher, LLP, also in Washington, DC. The firm describes him as having “substantial expertise in matters involving government ethics.”
By letter of July 9, 2008, I advised Meyer of the creation of the main Prosecutorial Misconduct page, requesting to be advised as to any matter where my treatment was inaccurate of unfair. Meyer did not respond.
A profile of Meyer, which I have drawn on with regard to certain background, may be found at: http://www.willkie.com/RobertMeyer
Addendum (August 13, 2009)
On August 13, 2009, a Google search for “’Robert J. Meyer’” yielded December 17, 1999 letter to Robert J. Meyer as the 29th result. A Yahoo search for the same phrase yielded the instant page as the 16h result. A Bing search for the same phrase yielded this page as the 14th result.
On the same day, a Google search for “’Robert J. Meyer’ attorney” yielded the December 17, 1999 letter as the first result and the July 8, 2008 letter referenced above as the second. A Yahoo search for the same phrases yielded the December 17, 1999 letter as the third result and this page as the fourth. A Bing search for the same phrases yielded jpscanln.com as the first results and the Prosecutorial Misconduct Summary page as the second.
Other avenues to these materials include searches for Bruce C. Swartz, a Deputy Assistant Attorney General, and Robert E. O’Neill, a leading candidate for the position of United States Attorney for the Middle District of Florida, as discussed in Addendum 1 to the Bruce C. Swartz profile and Addendum 1 to the Robert E. O’Neill profile. Such avenues include the Must Reading page of truthinjustice.org. and an August 2008 powerlineblog.com treatment of the Agent Cain matter that is the subject of Section B.1 of PMP.
As with various addendums on other profiles, I note these facts as indications of the likelihood that my interpretation of the conduct of Robert J. Meyer in the Dean prosecution case will become widely known among persons or entities having an interest in him.
[i] This indictment is unalloyed by the fact that Meyer was able to show (correctly) that, contrary to statements in Dean’s affidavit, Cain was not at Beverly Wilshire Hotel event she described. Few readers of the Cain appendix would conclude other than that Meyer was taking advantage of the error in order to facilitate his deceiving of the court regarding Cain’s testimony about the call. Further, when one is unaware of the manner in which Cain’s testimony was secured, one might consider the possibility that Dean’s error on that matter might have caused Meyer and other Independent Counsel attorneys responding to her motion to believe Dean’s testimony about the call might in fact be false. Such possibility would not be a strong one in any event. But once one realizes that Independent Counsel attorneys knew with absolute certainty that Dean had called Cain just as she said – presumably, among other reasons, because Cain had told them so – such possibility disappears.