RECENT CRIMINAL AND PERSONAL CONDUCT CASE VICTORIES

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security clearance expert

U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION; SUITABILITY CASE (October 5, 2021)

Our client in this matter was a CBP applicant accused of unspecified misconduct and foreign influence risk surrounding two foreign national family members residing in the United States.  We aggressively challenged the government’s case on the basis that it unlawfully conflated security clearance adjudicative guidelines and the suitability factors found in the Code of Federal Regulations, while only providing our client with the lesser due process afforded by DHS policy for the latter.  We then highlighted the baseless nature of the allegations themselves, the impermissible vagueness, and abundant mitigating context.  We succeeded in demonstrating that our client poses no risk to the efficiency of the service and obtained a favorable adjudication in short order. 

FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION; GUIDELINE “E” (August 6, 2021)

Our client in this matter was an FBI employee accused of abusing his law enforcement authority, interfering in a crime scene, and mishandling evidence of a shooting.  We represented the employee before both the Bureau’s Security Division and Office of Professional Responsibility, preparing a defense that overwhelmingly demonstrated the allegations were false, in part, and lacking critical context, in part.  After a year of defending our client against dual-tracked misconduct allegations, all proposed discipline was dropped and our client’s security clearance was reinstated.  

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “E” and “J” (June 16, 2021)

Our client in this matter was a DoD contractor accused of hiring prostitutes overseas on numerous occasions.  We prepared a multi-pronged defense that challenged key facts in the case and provided pertinent, missing context.  Although our client admitted to a few instances of solicitation, we demonstrated that the behavior was significantly dated and based on unusual circumstances unlikely to recur.  We also demonstrated that the client was not susceptible to blackmail and that he had implemented certain changes in his life that further mitigated security concerns.  Security clearance retained.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “E” (June 15, 2021)

Our client in this matter was a DoD contractor accused of past involvement with prostitutes at several bachelor parties both inside and outside the United States.  We demonstrated that our client’s involvement was largely peripheral; that the circumstances were unusual and unlikely to recur in light of his severed ties with college fraternity brothers; and that the client had matured, and his life had changed significantly since the last incident roughly five years prior.  Finally, we demonstrated that the potential for blackmail had been mitigated because our client’s wife, family, and colleagues were aware of the conduct.  Security clearance continued.  

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “J” (May 10, 2021)

Our client in this matter was a DoD contractor arrested for domestic violence and possessing illegal firearms.  In our client’s defense, we demonstrated that his ex-girlfriend accuser, who also happened to be a law enforcement officer, made similar false allegations in the past against a different boyfriend.  These allegations landed her on the Brady Index – a list of law enforcement officers found to have lied.  Her lack of credibility was further cemented by evidence we introduced showing the District Attorney’s office refused to charge our client because his accuser’s injuries (or lack thereof) did not match her story.  We provided voluminous character evidence, including the testimony of our client’s current girlfriend, that bolstered his version of events.  We then demonstrated that the “illegal” guns were only illegal because a state registration website was inoperable; that the statute itself was likely to be imminently declared unconstitutional; and that our client acted reasonably under the circumstances.  Security clearance reinstated.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “J” (May 10, 2021)

In this matter, we represented a U.S. service member arrested for allegedly soliciting a prostitute.  The prosecutor in the criminal case declined to press charges, and we argued that the same discretion was warranted in the security clearance case.  We presented circumstantial evidence that our client was unaware that the woman he was speaking with was a prostitute.  We also put forth a strong “whole person” case to bolster our client’s credibility.  Ultimately, DoD CAF agreed with us; the client’s security clearance was favorably re-adjudicated.  

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “E” and “J” (May 3, 2021)

Our client in this matter was a DoD contractor accused of soliciting prostitutes on several occasions overseas roughly seven years ago.  In our client’s defense, we demonstrated that the circumstances surrounding the incidents were highly unusual and unlikely to be repeated; that the lapses in judgment were out of character and not reflective of our client’s character; and that no potential for blackmail existed.  An administrative judge ruled for our client following an adversarial hearing.  Security clearance retained.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; CAC / HSPD-12 CASE (April 13, 2021)

In this matter, we represented a DoD contractor whose Common Access Card and favorable HSPD-12 adjudication were being revoked for a lengthy history of criminal conduct.  We objected to the revocation on the basis that it did not comply with applicable DoD policy guaranteeing our client the right to a hearing.  We then laid out a compelling case demonstrating that, even if the government did follow applicable policy, the conduct at issue was decades old and no longer demonstrative of our client’s character.  We worked with the client to obtain evidence of substantial rehabilitation and highlighted pertinent policy guidelines related to scoping of cases for adjudication.  Ultimately, our case prevailed on solely a written appeal. 

OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCY; GUIDELINES “D” and “E” (March 25, 2021)

Our client in this matter was accused of presenting a security risk due to solicitation of prostitutes overseas on numerous occasions several years prior.  This can sometimes be a challenging fact pattern due to the perceived potential for blackmail.  However, we presented a robust defense that identified an underlying cause for the risky behavior and verifiable steps the client had taken to resolve it.  Additional details withheld for security reasons.  Security clearance granted. 

BOARD OF EXAMINERS FOR THE FOREIGN SERVICE; SUITABILITY CASE (January 4, 2021)

Our client in this matter was a prospective U.S. Foreign Service Officer whose candidacy was terminated by the Board for alleged misconduct in past employment.  We prepared a comprehensive appeal that highlighted significant inaccuracies in the record and outright falsehoods provided to background investigators by a vindictive former employer.  Coupled with additional context demonstrating a favorable track record of employment, integrity, and judgment, our appeal on the merits succeeded in convincing the Board to overturn their initial decision, thereby reinstating our client onto the department’s Foreign Service Register.  

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “E” (December 16, 2020)

In this matter, we were privileged to represent a decorated U.S. Army Major accused of “failing” several Army CID polygraphs due to unspecified physiological “indicators”. We prepared a overwhelmingly strong defense by demonstrating, among other things: that the polygraph examiners reported inaccurate information; that the government was unable to identify any specific countermeasures, and instead resorted to speculation; that the case involved no admissions of adjudicatively significant information; and that the entire case was founded on a violation by the government of its own polygraph policy. After laying out the above and a relevant timeline, the government opted to withdraw the Statement of Reasons without the need for a hearing. Security clearance retained.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “J”, “E”, and “D” (April 23, 2020)

Our client in this matter was a senior DoD official accused of sexually assaulting a subordinate on a military base. Prosecution was declined, but the government still attempted to revoke our client’s security clearance (thereby ending his career) based on the unsubstantiated allegations. Upon review of the case, our attorneys quickly determined that there was a glaring reason why prosecution was declined: the accuser’s statements contained numerous contradictions and demonstrably false statements. Moreover, nothing in our client’s multi-decade career supported a propensity to engage in such behavior, and the individual who made the original complaint was not the accuser herself but rather a third party acting on hearsay. We prepared a devastatingly effective case that highlighted the numerous inconsistencies, false statements, and unanswered questions in the record. We also prepared a strong “whole person” case and obtained additional evidence that called into question the veracity of the claims. As a result of our efforts, DoD CAF withdrew the case against our client in a matter of weeks. Security clearance retained.

U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT; GUIDELINES “E”; “G”; and “I” (April 10, 2020)

In this matter, we represented a U.S. Foreign Service Officer accused of domestic violence and alcoholism. We prepared a comprehensive defense to the allegations that highlighted the uncharacteristic and singular nature of the domestic incident; the client’s sincere remorse; the client’s work to address his alcoholism and his current sobriety; and the fact that both the drinking and the domestic violence were the product of PTSD (now being treated) brought on by experiencing a series of terrorist attacks. Coupled with the favorable evaluation of a substance abuse expert, our efforts carried the day. Security clearance reinstated.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “E” (January 21, 2020)

In this matter, we were privileged to represent a decorated U.S. Army officer accused of posting his political opinions on a personal Facebook page that also contained a photograph of himself in uniform. The postings supposedly violated Army regulations prohibiting soldiers from engaging in political activity that could be misconstrued as having the support of the Army.

This was an extremely unusual case that raised serious First Amendment implications. We mounted a defense on multiple fronts after conducting extensive legal research. In particular, we pointed out that the Statement of Reasons – which repeatedly identified the political statements as “conservative” – toed, and probably crossed, the line of unconstitutional content restrictions on free speech. We also pointed out that no reasonable observer would misconstrue a personal Facebook page as a statement of official U.S. Army position, and that nothing about this situation raised national security concerns. Our robust defense succeeded in knocking out this case at the first level. Security clearance retained.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “D”, “E”, and “J” (November 13, 2019)

In this matter, we were privileged to represent a decorated combat veteran with a 100% VA disability rating, a Bronze Star with “V” Device, and a Purple Heart. Our client was wrongly accused of having committed a rape and domestic violence, despite the fact that the charges against him were dropped by civil authorities for lack of evidence and he vehemently disputed the allegations. We prepared an aggressive defense highlighting these facts; the accuser’s lack of credibility, ulterior motives, and history of mental illness; and significant “whole person” evidence that bolstered our client’s credible testimony in his own defense. Following a hearing before a DOHA Judge, we received a favorable decision from the Department of Defense. Security clearance retained.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY; GUIDELINES “E” and “J” (November 8, 2019)

In this matter, we represented a DHS employee accused of being arrested for cheating at cards in a legal casino. We prepared a legal defense that raised significant questions about whether the statute the employee was accused of violating had actually been violated. We worked with the employee to establish a strong whole person case and also demonstrated crucial mitigating factors that placed the entire incident in context. This client had much to lose, but we salvaged the client’s security clearance and career before it got to that point. Clearance reinstated following a written response to the SOR and personal appearance before the DHS Chief Security Officer.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “E”, “G”, “H”, “J”, and “I” (November 5, 2019)

In this matter, we represented a DoD civilian employee accused of refusing to cooperate with the background investigation process, abusing both drugs and alcohol, and possessing a mental health condition that adversely impacted her ability to safeguard classified information. This was a complicated and challenging case on the surface, but our expert attorneys unpacked it allegation-by-allegation and crafted an extraordinarily compelling rebuttal. We identified numerous inaccuracies in the investigator’s report, clarified several key discrepancies, and highlighted the opinion of our own expert witness, who disagreed with the dated psychological evaluation conducted by a government psychologist. So compelling was our defense that we succeeded in knocking out a five (5) Guideline SOR with only a written response. Clearance granted.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “E” and “J” (August 19, 2019)

Our client in this matter was a DoD contractor accused of a history of criminal conduct that made him unfit for security clearance. Among the client’s past arrests were several domestic incidents, a marijuana arrest, and a charge for robbery. The robbery charge – by far the most serious – we quickly dispensed with by demonstrating that a criminal court had acquitted the other alleged participant in the “robbery” and that, following the acquittal, the state had dropped all charges against our client, who adamantly denied guilt. The marijuana charge was disproven by a negative fingerprint result, which demonstrated mistaken identity. And the domestic incidents we dispensed with by highlighting their significant age and our client’s subsequent maturation (including attendance at an anger management class) since that time. Combined with a highly favorable whole person case and testimony from key character witnesses, we succeeded in demonstrating that our client poses no current risk to national security. Security clearance granted.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “E” (July 30, 2019)

Our client in this matter was a Senior Executive at the Department of Defense accused of a variety of vague allegations under Guideline “E” of the National Adjudicative Guidelines. The allegations centered around purported sexual harassment and personality conflicts in the workplace — issues that, even if true, constituted human resources concerns over national security issues. We prepared a strong defense on the merits demonstrating that, in fact, the allegations were not true but rather the efforts of disgruntled colleagues who simply disliked our client. Our case was so strong that we won it with only a written response to the Statement of Reasons. Security clearance retained.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “E” and “J” (July 10, 2019)

Our client in this matter was a DoD contractor arrested for domestic violence three times over the course of 17 years. Although the case initially appeared challenging, we quickly determined that charges in two of the three incidents had been reduced or dropped entirely after the female accuser admitted that the charges were fabricated out of jealousy in one case and that the purported victim was actually found to be the aggressor in the other. In the third incident, the client conceded some fault for an argument that got out of hand but we were able to make a strong case that he had subsequently matured and learned anger management skills. We rounded out our case by providing significant and highly favorable “whole person” evidence, including testimony by the client’s current fiance that she is aware of the past incidents and that she has never seen similar behavior in the course of their lengthy relationship. Security clearance granted.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “E” (June 19, 2019)

In this matter, we represented a DoD civilian employee accused of committing time card fraud. The employee was alleged to have purposefully misreported numerous hours and violated agency policy in how he recorded his time. In our client’s defense we demonstrated: how his managerial chain encouraged and promoted inaccurate timekeeping through both supervisory instruction and actions; that the client had no intent to defraud; and that the inaccuracies were largely an issue of semantics that did not result in unjust enrichment. Security clearance retained.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “E” and “J” (May 14, 2019)

Our client in this matter was a DoD civilian employee accused of time-card fraud, a DUI arrest, and an arrest for assault. Although the totality of the government’s case presented a challenging picture, we methodically attacked it item-by-item. We began by working with the client to better understand the facts and circumstances behind the time-card fraud allegation. What emerged was a description of a chaotic workplace, gross mismanagement, and a lack of training that left employees effectively required to guess on how to complete their time-cards. It became increasingly clear that the client’s time-card entries were the result of good-faith mistakes, not an intentional effort to defraud. We then obtained evidence that the purported DUI arrest never occurred; the government had incredibly (but not for the first time) confused our client’s identity with another individual. Finally, we prepared a detailed case for mitigation on the assault charge, demonstrating that the client was provoked and that this out-of-character incident did not comport with his peaceable nature. Security clearance retained.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE; SUITABILITY CASE (May 10, 2019)

Our client in this matter was a State Department contractor accused of exhibiting behavior that rendered him unfit for continued service on the contract. Specifically, the client was accused of sending a lewd “selfie” to a female colleague who allegedly did not wish to receive the photograph. Although the facts of the case as recited by State appeared challenging, upon digging deeper we determined that there was much more to this story. We developed significant extenuating and mitigating details, a strong whole-person case, and ultimately demonstrated that this matter was the result of a good-faith misunderstanding that will not be repeated. Unfavorable fitness determination reversed.

NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY; GUIDELINE “E” (March 26, 2019)

In this matter, we represented an NSA employee accused of admitting to time card fraud at multiple prior employers, including a different intelligence agency, during a polygraph examination. The government’s case was predicated entirely on the client’s purported admissions, which we quickly demonstrated were lacking critical context and largely the product of a rush to judgment by an overly-aggressive examiner. After a written response to the Statement of Reasons and a personal appearance before NSA’s Access Appeals Panel we succeeded in having this client’s security clearance reinstated.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “E” (March 13, 2019)

Our client in this matter was a DoD contractor accused of committing time card fraud at a previous employer and admitting to the fraud during a polygraph examination with an intelligence community agency. We prepared a detailed rebuttal to the allegations, highlighting the important differences between fixed price vs. time and materials government contracts. We then demonstrated why occasional, inadvertent sloppiness in timekeeping on fixed price contracts did not prejudice the customer. Combined with an extensive “whole person case”, the client’s credible testimony, and remedial efforts such as enrolling the client in a timekeeping education class, we succeeded in demonstrating both a lack of intent on the client’s part and an unlikeliness of the issue recurring. Security clearance retained.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “B”, “J”, and “E” (January 12, 2019)

Our client in this matter was a U.S. Army officer accused of sexually assaulting another soldier. Although the government claimed that certain electronic communications between our client and the accuser supported the accuser’s claim, we presented a strong case that the communications actually did exactly the opposite. After clarifying some discrepancies in the evidence, we further pointed out that the Army had opted not to prosecute or even issue our client an Article 15 for the alleged assault – likely because of questions about the accuser’s credibility. Finally, we demonstrated that the accuser had a history of military discipline and may have been making the allegations as a means of distracting from the accuser’s own misconduct. Clearance retained.

*Each case is unique. Representations of past success are not a guarantee, warranty, or prediction of future results.