More Las Vegas U.S. Attorney’s Office Troubles

Let’s see, where did we leave off…..

Oh yeah, the Cliven Bundy prosecution.  A monumental disaster which resulted in a dismissal, during trial, when the court found “flagrant” ethical violations on the part of the Government.

Well since then, the lead Bundy prosecutor, Acting U.S. Attorney, “Semper Fi” Steve Myhre, was replaced by a veteran DOJ lawyer from Texas.


The Good Old Boy Nevada bar circled the wagons – they were appalled that DOJ went outside Nevada.

Las Vegas Review Journal, January, 2018


Only Rick Pocker, the president-elect of the Nevada Bar, got it right.

“This may be DOJ trying to get control of the situation (the situation?) and they’ve bought in someone that they know has good experience” to bring a “fresh approach to an office that’s had some hard knocks lately.”  Hard knocks indeed.

Pocker, the former U.S. Attorney and a brilliant guy – and not just because he hired me (a NY lawyer who had nothing to do with Nevada) as an AUSA in Vegas, had seen this before, after he left the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

A DOJ trouble-shooter, Doug Frazier – not from Nevada – was brought in to head the Vegas office and shake things up after I’d been there only a couple of years.  He was a great leader and got the office back on track.

In fact, in the late 80’s and early 90’s, Pocker and his predecesor, Judge Bill Maddox, hired multiple out-of-state attorneys who would reject all the Vegas insiders and special interests and work for our client – the United States of America.  These hires included some heavy hitters – Jay Angelo. Howard Zlotnick, and Russ Mayer, as well as yours truly.  That hiring trend would continue under U.S. Attorney Kathryn Landreth, with people like Matt Parrella, Peter Ko, Walt Green and Blair (Smith) Perez.  A legal Murderers Row.

Now let me pause briefly.  Just ask yourself why a bunch of defense attorneys would complain about a non-member of their club being appointed the head prosecutor in Las Vegas?

Do you think they had the public interest in mind?

Anyway, the disgraced Myhre, protege of twice-fired Dan Bodgen, was replaced in January.

Then, last week (on Friday the 13th) it was revealed that he had been demoted from First Assistant.  The front page of the Review Journal blared:  EMBATTLED FEDERAL ATTORNEY MOVED

The source of these particular woes was an EEOC complaint of sexual discrimination by a female AUSA who has since left the office. Besides costing the Government more than $300,000 to settle her case,  Myhre, Greg Brower (then U.S. Attorney, having succeeded the fired Bogden) and other supervisory personnel were ordered to undergo sexual discrimination training, and to file periodic compliance reports.  (Of course, none of this stopped blabbermouth FBI Director James Comey from hiring Brower for a high level FBI position.)

One more point about Brower as relates to Nevada’s Good Old Boy network.

Once Bogden was fired (the first time) a replacement had to be chosen.

What list of qualifications would not offend the Las Vegas bar?

He’s a lawyer.  Good start.

He was a Nevada Legislator.  A little less impressive than it might sound, when you consider that:

“The Assembly, like the Senate, is composed of citizen legislators, receiving a relatively small salary for the first 60 days of a session only. This tends to self-selection, with legislative service difficult for those without flexible jobs and/or large outside incomes, such as doctors and lawyers. The Assembly, again like the Senate, meets up to a maximum of 120 days, beginning the first Monday in February of every odd-numbered year.”

He served as Inspector General of the Government Printing Office, presumably ferreting out potential threats to our nation’s paper and ink stores.

Perfect.  No complaints from the Vegas legal heavy-hitters, not withstanding Brower is from Reno, some 400 miles away.


By contrast, the new interim U.S. Attorney, Dayle Elieson “has served this Department (DOJ)  for more than 15 years and has prosecuted criminals for more than 20 years,” per Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “At the federal level, she has successfully taken on fraudsters, money launderers, and terrorists.  She is experienced, highly respected, and she will be an excellent leader as Interim U.S. Attorney for Nevada.”


One final note on all of this.

I was called as a witness in that female AUSA’s sexual discrimination complaint.   But I never worked for Brower.  So the matters I was asked about necessarily pertained to the Bogden era.

Yet Bogden seems to have emerged unscathed by any of these unpleasantries.

I wish the best to U.S. Attorney Dayle Elieson.  Hopefully she can right this once formidable, listing ship.

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