Sentencing was delayed again for Scott Bloch, the former head of the federal whistleblower protection office. Bloch was removed from his post as special counsel at the United States Office of Special Counsel amid federal and congressional investigations into a coverup concerning employee discrimination lawsuits.
Prosecutors allege that Bloch had a policy of ignoring complaints based on sexual orientation and that Bloch retaliated against people in the office with different political views. Bloch also allegedly ordered the destruction of computer files referring to workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation in 2006, Courthouse News Service reports.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson refused the Bush appointee's motion to withdraw his plea to charges of undermining a congressional investigation. Robinson ruled on Feb. 8 that Bloch had to serve at least one month in prison for his guilty plea to a crime that has a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
Bloch made a motion to withdraw his plea because he said that he expected to receive probation and that he would not have pleaded guilty if he was aware of the mandatory minimum jail term.
Judge Robinson was unconvinced by Bloch's motion, "The court finds that any suggestion that defendant - a lawyer represented by retained counsel - did not read the statute which contained both the offense to which he decided to plead guilty, as well as the penalties upon conviction of said offense, would defy credulity," she wrote.
Bloch was a controversial figure before the corruption scandal because he stated that gay and lesbian employees could not be protected from discrimination, Courthouse News Service reports.
Source: Courthouse News Service, "Bush Appointee Loses Bid to Withdraw Guilty Plea," 3/10/11