U.S. prosecutor sues Ashcroft 

02/17/04: (CBC) WASHINGTON - A U.S. federal prosecutor in one of the first war on terror trials is suing Attorney General John Ashcroft, alleging he was investigated for raising concerns about the war on terror. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Convertino, who was removed from the case, is seeking damages under the Privacy Act. 

Convertino alleges his First Amendment rights were violated when details about a Justice Department internal investigation into his conduct during the trial were leaked to the media. 

Convertino says he came under investigation in retaliation for providing information to a Senate committee about his concerns into the Justice Department's war on terror. 

The lawsuit states that Convertino complained to his superiors more than a year ago about Justice's interference in a trial he was prosecuting in Detroit in June. 

Convertino helped convict two men who were found guilty of conspiracy to provide material support for terrorism. A co-defendant was convicted of document fraud. 

Washington supervisors "had continuously placed perception over reality to the serious detriment of the war on terror," the lawsuit states. 

The lawsuit includes an e-mail from another prosecutor that Convertino says "identified some of the gross mismanagement which was negatively impacting the ability of the United States to obtain convictions in a major terrorist case." 

Written by CBC News Online staff

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