Shortly after McNulty conveyed his qualms to Sampson via email, McNulty reiterated the concerns in a meeting. He “came into my office,” Sampson told investigators . “I’m concerned about Bogden,” MCNulty told Sampson and a few other senior DOJ officials in the room. “… he’s 50, hasn’t had a job in [the] private sector, and what about his family.”
According to Sampson’s account, another senior official corrected McNulty: “He’s a bachelor,” the official said, “He’s single.”
As Sampson recalled to investigators, McNulty responded, “Okay never mind.” McNulty, Sampson said, “then got up and left my office.”
When questioned by investigators, McNulty did not disagree with Sampson’s basic version of events. Having learned that Dan Bogden was a bachelor, McNulty recalled, “I guess I don't have any objection [anymore] to going forward.”
In each of the last two years since their firings, the fired U.S. attorneys have held annual reunions—the first hosted by fired U.S. attorney for San Diego, Carol Lam, the second hosted by Bogden at Lake Tahoe, near his home in Reno.
These reunions are, as one participant told me, a “bohemian affair,” the cuisine often no better than pizza or take-out food—with a congenial atmosphere, in which participants engage in a certain amount of commiseration. At one reunion, the group clustered around a laptop and watched a Saturday Night Live skit depicting Alberto Gonzales evading congressional questioning.
It has also become something of a pastime at these gatherings for the former prosecutors to speculate as to why Bogden was terminated. David Iglesias, the ex-U.S. attorney for New Mexico, observed to me: “Most of us have gotten some sense, if not a good sense, as to why we were fired. But unlike the rest of us, Dan has never had that. There has never been any credible allegation or unyielding reason known as to why he was fired.”
Whatever the reason for his firing, Bogden’s fellow ex-U.S. attorneys hold him in high esteem. Paul Charlton, the former U.S. attorney for Arizona described Bogden to me as that rare prosecutor who is motivated to see that justice gets done rather than simply to secure convictions for the sake of winning. “To Dan Bogden,” Charlton said, “nobody had a monopoly on the truth. Not prosecutors, not agents, not targets of investigation, not judges… Dan has dedicated his life to the principles of being the best possible prosecutor.” And David Iglesias told me: “All of us loved being U.S. attorneys. But Dan just had this immense emotional attachment to being a U.S. attorney. If you know him, you can see what the job meant to him.”
Extraordinarily, Bogden might get another chance to demonstrate just what it does mean to him.
Last month, Nevada Democratic Senator Harry Reid, who happens to be the Senate majority leader, asked the White House to consider rehiring Bogden as Nevada’s U.S. attorney. “I just think it is so unfair what happened to him,” Reid told reporters: “It is just not fair to have Bogden with this mark, this scarlet letter, of being a bad U.S. attorney… He was a good guy.” A spokesman for Reid confirmed by phone that Reid has asked that the Obama administration and Justice Department consider reappointing Bogden as U.S. attorney.