Thomas M. DiBiagio, the U.S. Attorney in Maryland, may face credibility questions in court and political problems in Washington after sending e-mail messages pressuring prosecutors for more convictions of elected officials and “front page” indictments, says the Baltimore Sun. Maryland Democratic Party Chairman Isiah Leggett demanded DiBiagio’s resignation and accused the Republican prosecutor of pursuing politically motivated cases to garner publicity. Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. defended DiBiagio by saying the prosecutor adequately explained his motives and what he had meant by the phrase “front page” indictments.
The Sun obtained three confidential documents he wrote. DiBiagio said the documents were simply used to motivate his staff and that he would never push his subordinates to do anything but “follow the facts and the law.” A May 14 staff meeting agenda written by DiBiagio says he wants three “front page” indictments for public corruption or white-collar crimes by Nov. 6; that is four days after the presidential election that could determine whether DiBiagio keeps his job. A July 1 e-mail from DiBiagio to his staff cites recent federal indictments against city officials in Philadelphia alleging municipal corruption. “Why aren’t we doing cases like this?” he wrote. “Am I the only one embarrassed by the fact that this Office has not convicted an elected official of corruption since 1988?” While political opponents called for his resignation, Justice Department spokesman Mark Corallo labeled DiBiagio a “fantastic prosecutor” and said the department supports his efforts.