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Ex-Prosecutor’s Soaring Career at DOJ Is Shot Down by ‘Fast and Furious’ Fallout

Posted Jan 8, 2013 11:42 AM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Jason M. Weinstein seemingly was on a soaring career trajectory as a former federal prosecutor appointed to a job at the U.S. Department of Justice in 2009.

The George Washington University law graduate's aggressive approach, working with local police as the man in charge of the violent crimes unit at the U.S. Attorney's office in Baltimore, brought him to the attention of the DOJ. But once there, Weinstein's relatively peripheral role in OKing paperwork related to the botched "Fast and Furious" gun-walking operation soon clipped his wings considerably, the Washington Post (reg. req.) reports in a lengthy article.

In August of last year, Weinstein, 44, was stunned to see that he figured prominently in an inspector general's report (PDF). It called for the DOJ to mull possible disciplinary action concerning 14 individuals. The deputy assistant attorney general was one of them.

An unfortunate pronoun reference in an email that could be interpreted to show that DOJ officials knew more, early on, about problems with Fast and Furious than they did, helped put Weinstein in front of a House of Representatives committee asking questions about the operation.

Although supporters say Weinstein was not a key decision-maker in the operation and had no reason to question what others told him, critics portrayed him as a senior official who had failed at his job as a gatekeeper, the Post recounts.

While he was not asked to do so, Weinstein resigned over the IG report, the Post recounts. Colleagues toasted him at a final work event and a former co-prosecutor on a major case in Baltimore, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrea Smith, called Weinstein a man of high integrity.

Weinstein said he wanted to be free to fight the claims made against him and he didn't want to be a distraction, according to the newspaper. Now he is looking for another job.

“In a thousand years, you don’t expect this phase of your career to end this way,” he said. “But there’s a badge of honor for surviving these things, and I’m determined to earn it.”

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