An investigation into possible misconduct by an FBI agent has forced authorities to release at least a dozen convicts serving prison sentences for distributing drugs in the Washington, D.C., area, the Washington Post reports. In addition, several suspects awaiting trial on drug charges and a man convicted but not yet sentenced have been freed. More cases that could involve the agent are under scrutiny, including one involving 21 defendants. None of the suspects or felons have had charges dropped or convictions overturned. Most are on home detention, awaiting the outcome of the investigation into the agent, who was assigned to a D.C. police task force.
The scope and type of alleged misconduct by the agent have not been revealed, but defense lawyers involved in the cases described the mass freeing of felons as virtually unprecedented and an indication that convictions could be in jeopardy. Prosecutors are periodically faced with having to drop cases over police misconduct, but it is unusual to free those who have been found guilty. Th agent has not been criminally charged but has been suspended. “I've never, ever seen something like this before,” said Robert Lee Jenkins Jr., a lawyer from Alexandria, Va., who is representing a man who pleaded guilty to a drug conspiracy charge and has been released pending sentencing. “It suggests to me that whatever is going on is very significant.”