Thursday, 4:30 PM
Judge wants to know about probe of prosecutor
By Raja Mishra and Shelley Murphy, Globe Staff
The chief federal judge in Boston is urging the US Justice Department to find out and tell him what happened to an internal investigation of a federal prosecutor accused of withholding evidence in a high-profile Mafia case.
The unusual request, which was filed in court Monday, stems from a botched racketeering case in which two reputed mobsters were released early from prison after Chief US District Judge Mark L. Wolf determined that prosecutor Jeffrey Auerhahn improperly and possibly illegally manipulated evidence.
Three years ago, US Attorney Michael J. Sullivan told Wolf that he would get to the bottom of the alleged misconduct. But in a letter sent Friday to Sullivan’s boss, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, Wolf wrote that "no information on the status or any results" of the investigation into Auerhahn had been reported to him.
"The apparent inaction of the Department of Justice regarding Mr. Auerhahn has generated considerable concern about the administration of justice in the District of Massachusetts," Wolf wrote.
Auerhahn, who could not be reached for comment Monday, currently works on antiterrorism cases and recently prosecuted a Bosnian war criminal.
Citing Justice Department rules protecting employees’ privacy, Sullivan said Monday he could not comment on the results of the investigation of Auerhahn or whether any action had been taken against him.
Sullivan said he would look into whether prosecutors could somehow share the results of the investigation with Wolf without violating Auerhahn’s privacy.
"Obviously the court has raised some legitimate concerns as it relates to a matter that was before the court, and there should be an avenue to be able to respond to the court on the outcome of any inquiry that was launched as a result of the court’s findings or conclusions," Sullivan said.
A Justice Department spokeswoman in Washington said the agency would not comment on the matter and would direct any response to Wolf.