A federal prosecutor told a judge Tuesday that the Justice Department is investigating Michael Sherwin, the former U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C., for comments he made during a “60 Minutes” interview about the Capitol riot probes.
In an interview broadcast Sunday, Sherwin said he believed the evidence was “trending toward” meeting the standard for filing sedition charges against some of the rioters. “I believe the facts do support those charges,” he said and also made other comments about individual defendants.
His statements struck some former prosecutors as inappropriate, and DOJ officials notably declined Monday to say whether Sherwin had sought approval before agreeing to the interview.
During a hearing Tuesday involving four people charged with being members of the Oath Keepers, Judge Amit Mehta from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said he was “was surprised, and I’m being restrained in my use of terminology, surprised to say the least to see Mr. Sherwin sitting for an interview about a pending case in an ongoing criminal investigation.”
“Whether his interview violated Justice Department policy is really not for me to say, but it is something I hope the Department of Justice is looking in to.”
John Crabb, the director of the Criminal Division for the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington told the judge that Sherwin’s decision is being investigated.
“The Department of Justice has rules and procedures that govern contact with media, and as far as we can determine at this point, those rules and procedures were not applied with respect to that ’60 Minutes’ interview. Therefore that matter has been referred to the Department of Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility,” Crabb said.
Sherwin stepped down as U.S. attorney on Friday to return to the U.S. attorney’s office in Miami.
Michael Kosnar contributed.