Machen: Election Won’t Affect Gray Investigation Timing
For a guy who is constitutionally incapable of speaking about the most interesting parts of his job, U.S. Attorney Ron Machen sits for a lot of interviews. That was the case last night on Capitol Hill, when the U.S. Attorney was interviewed by NBC4's Tom Sherwood and discussed, among other things, a certain unnamed mayor under federal investigation.
Put the kettle on, LL's got some tea leaves to read.
For starters: Yes, Machen realizes his two-year investigation into Vince Gray's 2010 campaign is about to bump into the 2014 Democratic primary. Still, Machen he said the impending election won't affect the timeline of the case. "We're sensitive to that but at the same time there's nothing we can do," Machen said. "We can't just wrap up an investigation when we're in the midst of gathering information."
"Some of the same people who are saying 'Hurry up, hurry up' may also be involved in not coming forward with the information we need so we could hurry up," Machen said. "We're trying to move as quickly as we can, but we're not going to go away just because there are obstacles put in our way."
The latest obstacle comes in the form of District Attorney General Irv Nathan, who's refusing to give Machen documents related to the city's $7.5 million settlement from 2011 with Jeff Thompson's health care firm on the grounds that the records are protected under attorney-client privilege. Earlier Wednesday, Gray echoed Nathan's concerns about attorney-client privilege.
Machen has already rejected a compromise proposed by Nathan in which a federal judge would consider whether the documents are protected. At Hill Center, Machen wouldn't explain what he's looking for in the docs, except to say that they're necessary for his case. "You can have an idea of what's going on, but I'm charged with proving it, and to prove it I need documents," Machen said.
As for his own ambitions for elected office or the judiciary, Machen said he's not planning for either right now. If he has his way, he's staying right where he is. "I think you stay as long as you can," Machen said. "I love this job. This is the greatest job."
Photo by Darrow Montgomery