Apr 30, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Prosecutor investigated over Capitol riot interview leaves DOJ

Michael Sherwin, Acting U.S. Attorney, gives an update on the investigation into the Capitol Hill riots on January 12, 2021

Michael Sherwin. Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

The former acting U.S. attorney in Washington, who was under investigation over comments he made about the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, has left the Justice Department, AP reported Friday.

The big picture: Michael Sherwin suggested in a CBS "60 Minutes" interview that some of the rioters could face rarely-used charges of sedition, echoing comments he had made previously at news conferences. Days before the interview aired in March, Sherwin was replaced as the top prosecutor in Washington, according to AP.

Catch up quick: Sherwin's comments drew heat from U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta, who's overseeing one of the conspiracy cases stemming from the Jan. 6 riot, AP reported.

  • “These types of statements in the media have the potential to affect the jury pool and the rights of these defendants,” Mehta said, adding that further press statements by the DOJ could lead to a gag order or sanctions.

A person familiar with the matter told AP that senior Justice officials never forbade Sherwin from speaking with reporters, and had asked him to discuss the investigation at news conferences.

Between the lines: Since Sherwin is no longer employed by the DOJ, he can't be subject to disciplinary actions from the Office of Professional Responsibility, per AP.

  • It's unclear if the investigation into Sherwin's "60 Minutes" interview will continue.
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