Washington Post Letters

Letters from an attorney for volunteer staffer accused in prostitution scandal to top editors of the Washington Post.
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  Rogerus, Russeut, Euelrnr, ORsecx, UnreRetmrR & $auaen LLP 1801 K STREET, N.W., Sutre 411 WRsntucroN, D.C. 20006 PHoNE (202)775-4500 FAx (202) 775-4il4 www. robbins russell.com Richard A- Sauber January 16,2074 Marty BaronExecutive EditorKevin Merida Managing Editor fbr News and Features The Washington Post1150 l5th Skeet, NW Washington, DC 20071 Re: Inclusion of Jonathan Dach's Name in a Proposed Ner,r's Article Dear Mr. Baron and Mr. Merida: I am counsel to Jonathan Daeh. In r&.ent weeks I have been speaking u,ith two Posl reporterso David Nakarnura and Carol Leonnig, about an artiele they have been working aon concerning the aftermath of the disclosure in the press that certain U.S. govemment employeesacted inappropriately while preparing in Colombia for the President's visit to Colombiain20l2.Mr. Nakamura and Ms. Leonnig have informed me that they are considering using Mr. Dach's narne, and the name of his father, Leslie Dach, in the article. In this letter I would like to lay out the reasons why I think use of these namss would be unwarranted and unfair. More generally, the reasons outlined below also bring into question why any article is fair given the unsubstantiated nature of the allegations. I am also asking for a meeting to further discuss theseissues before the Posr proceeds. Let me make clear at the outset that Mr. Nakamura and Ms. Leonnig have been honest,courteous, and completely fair with me. I am not writing to complain about their.actions; instead I am writing to appeel to you as editors, lawyers, and reporters to exercise yolu journalisticjudgment and refiain from including Jonathan Dach's name if this article is published and to refrain from including Leslie Dach inthe story at all. I also believe that regardless of whether nztrnes are used or not, the Posf has an obligation to include in the story that the paper has no independent proof of the validity of any of these accusations, has seen no documentary evidence  Robbins, Russell, Englert, Orseck, Untereiner & Sauber LLP To M. Baron and K. Merida January 16,2414Page2 or interviewed the underlying witnesses, and indeed that at least one of the allegations made by some of the sources has been shown to be false' It is my understanding that the proposed article being considered focuses primarily on why the Interim Inspector General at the Department of Homeland Security directed hisinvestigators to exclude oertain allegations and evidence from their report that Jonathan Dach, working as a White House volunteer, had a prostitute in his Colombian hotel room during the time period in question. I aiso understand that the proposed article may include questions about the way in which the White llouse responded to these allegations. Finally, I understand that the possible inclusion of Leslie Dach's name is because, as Ms. Leonnig told me, it is interesting that the events described above occurred and that Jonathan Dach's father Leslie is a connectedand influential supporter of President Obama. Use of ,lonathan Dach's nome To print in a national news outlet such as the Post that Jonathan Dach is accused of taking a prostitute to his room while working for the White House will be devastating to thisyoung man just as he ernbarks on his career after law school. It will hang over his head through the internet for the next 50 years. It will affect his job prospects and his reputation forever. Moreover, he has vehemently denied the allegation at every turn and would do so under oath directly to the Past if rt would have a material impact on your decision. There is, in my view, no compelling reason for the Post ta take this gep. We also believe the Post should have an affirmative obligation to investigate and affirm the allegations before it chooses to do such harm'Central aspects of this story, including the identity of Jonathan Dach as the White House volunteer in question, have been circulating in the media since 2012. However, every media outlet that has faced the question raised in this letter has decided not to include his name in the reporting. If it proceetis, the PosI will be the first to do so. No other reporter, editor, or news executive faced with this issue has ever taken this step. I understand from Mr. Nakamura and Ms. Leonnig that they believe it is appropriate toproceed and that this situation is different in pai't because of three important allegations that the Posf has been told by curent or former IG staff: 1 There is an eye*witness from the Secret Service who claims to have seen Mr. Dach at the hotel ftont desk trying to sign in a person who  looked like an escort into his room; 2, There is some type of evidence indicating that Mr. Dachbought items from his room mini-bar on the vsry same night, and these items are consistent witha couple partying in the room; and 3. There is some documentary evidence indicating Mr. Dach in fact signed the escort into his room and tried to use his Ililton Rewards number in lisu ofbeing charged the hotel's standard late night guest fee.  Robbins, Russell, Englert, Orseck, Untereiner & Sauber LLP To M. Baron and K. Merida January 16,2414 Page 3 The first allegation that a Secret Service employee alleged to the IC staff that he saw Mr.Dach in the lobby of the hotel sign in a person to his room who looked like an escort is particularly flimsy unless corroborating evidence exists. It seems as if the Seoret Service source isn't saying that he has any proof that the person he saw was an escort - only that the person looked like one. The allegations concerning the existence of documsntary evidence are even more troubling. It is unclear to me whether the Posf has such evidence in its possession or has at least seen the evidence. Nonetheless, it took me little eff'ort to demonstrate to Mr. Nq&amura and Ms. Leonnig that the second allegation was patently false. I provided them with a copy of the  incidentals bill from Mr. Dach's stay in Colombia. (The room charges are billed directly to the U.S. Government). There were no late night guest fees indicated, nor was there any indication that the Awards number had been used to have a fee waived. But most importantly, the bill (and the receipt which was also provided) indicated that for the entire stay Mr. Dach consumed a single bottle of mineral water and nothing else; hardly the indication of a wild night with a prostitute that your reporters' sources indicated was a new piece of evidence, In light of the demonstrable falsity of the mini-bar allegation, it would seem both fair and imperative for the Post to subject the other documentary elaim to more stringent review.Indeed, if such documentary eyidence truly exists, why not show it to me so that I can have a chance to provide evidence that might undermine or refute it? If there is a signature involved, why not give me a chance to demonstrate thafrit is forged or taken from a different document? And if it turns out that the Posr does not have or has not seen this documentary evidence,. I believe that the equities now tip in favor of extreme skepticism, especially in light of the stakes.Use of Leslie Dach's NameLeslie Dach is a mature man who has lived for decades in Washington, D.C. where hehas been involved in business and politics. To have survived here for that long he has certainlydeveloped a thick skin. But in some ways the use of his name would be even more inappropriate and unfair than the use of his sonos name. As I understand the focus of the proposed article, it is that a high-level government official (the Interim DHS IG), obstructed justice by interfering with a law enforcement report (the IG Report). This interference came in the form of instructing the IG Agents to leave out certain salienl facts and the name of Jonathan Dach. This set of facts would then be contrasted with the interesting factthat Jonathan Dach's father is a connected and influential Democraticsupporter of the President. As I said, this is nothing more than an obvious invitation to infer that there was political interference in the law enforcement proeess, and yet the Post has said to me it has absolutely no evidence that Leslie Dach in any way attempted to interfere wittr the IG report  Robbins, Russell, Englert, Orseck, Untereiner & Sauber LLP To M. Baron and K. Merida January 16,2014 Page 4 or was known to the IG, This type of highly inflammatory innuendo and guilt by association is patently unTair. I would very much like the opportunity to meet with you if you conclude that these names should be incllded in the article. I am ready to provide any information we can obtain and to make Jonathan Dach available for interview about the events of that night in Colombia if you can tell me his denials would be material to yolr decision. Very truly yours, d* Richard A. Saubercc:Stephen Hills, President and General Manager KevinMeridaffi Anne Komblut James Mclaughlin John B, KennedyKatherine WeymouthDavid Nakurruru Carol Leonnig i
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