Washington DC

DC attorney general accuses city lawyers of impeding sexual harassment probe into ex-deputy mayor

D.C. Attorney General Brian Schwalb threatened legal action against Mayor Muriel Bowser's administration, claiming attorneys are impeding his investigation into John Falcicchio

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As the D.C. Council prepares to hold its first public hearing on a scandal that rocked Mayor Muriel Bowser’s administration, the District’s attorney general accused city legal officials of impeding an investigation.

John Falcicchio, a former deputy mayor of D.C. and ex-chief of staff to Bowser, was one of the most powerful officials in the District’s government. Two employees accused him of sexual harassment.

As News4 was first to report last month, Falcicchio is the focus of at least one criminal investigation stemming from the allegations, which were substantiated by an internal investigation by the Mayor’s Office of Legal Counsel (MOLC).

D.C. Attorney General Brian Schwalb is now threatening legal action against the Bowser administration, claiming attorneys are impeding his investigation.

In a letter dated June 14 from the attorney general to Bowser’s attorneys, Schwalb asked MOLC to turn over documents related to their investigation.

“I am formally requesting that the MOLC provide the Office of Attorney General (“OAG”) immediately with all materials in the MOLC’s possession related to its investigation of the Falcicchio matter, complaints of sexual harassment and violations of Mayor’s Order 2017-213 by former Deputy Mayor and Chief of Staff John Falcicchio,” the letter says.

In the letter, Schwalb confirms that the D.C. inspector general referred the Falcicchio case to the attorney general for potential violations of criminal law.

Multiple sources familiar with the investigation tell News4 the mayor’s office refused to provide the materials to the attorney general.

In his letter, Schwalb wrote refusal to produce the information will not only impede the investigation but could result in his office taking legal action against the mayor’s administration. Also, he questioned the decision by Bowser to conduct the investigation internally.

The MOLC said in a statement to News4 that the attorney general’s request overreaches that office’s authority. The mayor’s office said it offered to provide some documents but not the entire case file. They said they could not do so.

“The dissemination of the investigative report is prohibited unless required by court order,” the statement reads in part. “[…] The MOLC reasserts its ongoing commitment to protecting confidentiality of all witnesses involved, all of whom requested it. […] In this context, the AG has no subpoena authority and limited criminal jurisdiction.”

The D.C. Council will hold a public hearing Wednesday on the mayor’s response to the Falcicchio sexual harassment investigation. The hearing could provide new information on the criminal investigation, as the inspector general will testify. After initially declining to testify, News4 is told that the mayor’s attorney who leads the internal investigation also is expected to testify.

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