Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins will resign this week following a monthslong investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general into her appearance at a political fundraiser and other potential ethics issues, which included a 25 Investigates report.
Rollins was a controversial pick to be Massachusetts’ top federal law enforcer and twice needed Vice President Kamala Harris to break a tie for her nomination to move forward in the Senate amid fierce opposition from Republicans, who painted her as a radical.
Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas tried everything they could to block Rollins from being sworn in as U.S. Attorney.
“I warned Democratic senators that Rachael Rollins wasn’t only a pro-criminal ideologue but also had a history of poor judgment and ethical lapses. Now that she has resigned in disgrace, the Senate should turn its attention to the corrupt, pro-criminal ideologues at the highest ranks of the Department of Justice,” said Senator Cotton.
Back in September 2021, Cotton spoke about a videotaped encounter between Rollins and a 25 Investigates crew at a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting describing the events leading up to it as “bizarre.”
‘Bizarre’ encounter between DA Rollins and 25 Investigates comes up during Senate hearing
25 Investigates began looking into allegations that Rollins was involved in a road rage incident at the South Bay Mall after being contacted by Katie Lawson. She said Rollins activated her emergency lights and emergency horn and threatened to ticket her at the mall in January 2021. Lawson said she was trying to merge into Rollins’ lane at the time. Lawson claims Rollins overstepped her authority.
“When a local news crew tried to ask Miss Rollins about the incident… she responded by threatening the news crew on video saying ‘I’ll call the police on you and make an allegation and we’ll see how that works with you,’” said Cotton, adding “She later tried to justify this by saying she thought the news camera was a weapon. It is a truly bizarre case.”
When 25 Investigates asked Rollins about Cotton’s remarks her office directed us to two statements.
One released in January 2021 said Rollins has a very different account of the parking lot dispute and she was only trying to protect her family when she spoke to our crew.
One released in September 2021 said Rollins looks forward to the confirmation process and is deeply grateful for the bi-partisan support she has received.
Massachusetts US Attorney Rachael Rollins to resign after Justice Department ethics probe
Fast forward nearly two years and two high-class positions later Rollins said that she will be submitting a letter of resignation to President Joe Biden by close of business Friday.
Rollins’ attorney said she has been “profoundly honored” to have served as U.S. attorney and proud of her office’s work but “understands that her presence has become a distraction.” Attorney Michael Bromwich — a former Justice Department inspector general — said Rollins will make herself available to answer questions “after the dust settles and she resigns.”
Before taking the high-profile U.S. attorney job, she was the top prosecutor for Suffolk County, which includes Boston. In her role there, sparred with Boston’s largest police union and pushed ambitious criminal justice changes, most notably a policy not to prosecute certain low-level crimes such as shoplifting.
Massachusetts Democratic Sens. Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, who had pushed for Rollins to be nominated to the post, said in a joint statement that they will respect her decision to step down.
“Rachael Rollins has for years dedicated herself to the people of Massachusetts and equal justice under the law,” they said.
The Justice Department’s watchdog has yet to release its report detailing the findings of its investigation.
The inspector general’s office generally investigates allegations of fraud, abuse or violation of other Justice Department policies.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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