Last month in a Legal Pulse Post, “In Off-Label Criminal Case, Judge Pokes Finger at Prosecutors’ Jaundiced Eye“, WLF’s Rich Samp assessed the highlights of Judge Roger Titus’s remarkable mid-trial order acquitting former drug company in-house counsel Laura Stevens of charges that she obstructed justice during a Justice Department investigation of alleged off-label drug “marketing”. Even the judge acknowledged the highly unusual nature of the outcome, stating that he had never previously issued such an order in response to a defendant’s routine motion under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 29(b).
This morning, Corporate Counsel magazine’s Sue Reisinger is reporting that the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland, where the indictment was brought and the case tried, refused to sign the indictment. It is routine, with almost no exceptions, that the U.S. Attorney from the district where an indictment is brought has his name on the document even if a Justice Department attorney does as well. Reisinger’s story notes that the Maryland U.S. Attorney, Ron Rosenstein, is a highly respected career prosecutor who received unanimous Senate confirmation to the position in 2005.
Mr. Rosenstein’s reason for not signing: He reportedly felt that the evidence against Ms. Stevens was lacking. DOJ regretfully chose not to exercise its prosecutorial discretion as wisely as did Mr. Rosenstein, and plowed forward with the case, bringing in an Assistant U.S. Attorney from Boston to pursue the charges.