Read the order muzzling embattled ICE agent Cory Voorhis

No doubt former ICE agent Cory Voorhis would have loved to comment on an October 23 Denver Post article about Stephanie Villafuerte, a former deputy district attorney and Bill Ritter associate nominated by President Barack Obama as U.S. Attorney. Trouble is, Voorhis had just received a protective order signed by Jeremiah Cassidy, administrative judge for the Merit Systems Protection Board, which is hearing Voorhis' bid to be reinstated to his job.

Voorhis' attorney, Thomas Muther, can't say much, either; the order applies to him as well. But he does confirm that the complaint leading to the judge's move was prompted by his client sharing his views with the press, including Westword, after a previous Post piece.

The earlier report focused on an ICE supervisor who reportedly offered false testimony under oath. Voorhis spoke at length about the revelation with yours truly and KHOW's Peter Boyles, among other media representatives, and made assorted documents publicly available. After that, Muther says, "The agency council member [Robert Erbe] sought a protective order related to any reports of investigation of other agency employees."

Villafuerte, who declines to talk about whether she participated in accessing a federal database for political rather than law-enforcement reasons (the very reason Voorhis was dismissed) isn't named in the order. However, a broad interpretation of the document could mean that any comments made about her by Voorhis, who was acquitted of criminal culpability in regard to using the computer, could hurt his chances of reinstatement -- so he's taking Muther's advice and erring on the side of caution. Voorhis' hearing before the board, which was delayed after Muther came down with the H1N1 virus, is now scheduled for December 9 and 10. After that, Muther says, it's likely the judge will issue a written ruling between thirty and sixty days later. Muther doesn't comment on whether the decision could preclude Voorhis from weighing in on Villafuerte or other ICE employees down the line -- but it would hardly be the biggest surprise in the world.

Erbe's complaint and the judge's response can be read in their entirety at the link above. In the meantime, the meat of the order is below:

The disclosure of any and all reports of investigations of other Agency employees shall be subject to the conditions set forth below. Such conditions are EFFECTIVELY IMMEDIATELY and the failure of the Appellant and his counsel to abide by these conditions may result in appropriate sanctions pursuant to 5 C.F.R. § 1201.43, which can include, dismissal of his appeal.

1. Effective immediately, no additional copies of any and all Agency Reports of Investigations (including exhibits unless the exhibit consists of federal court testimony which is public record) of other Agency employees shall by made the Appellant or his representatives. This prohibition includes, but is not limited to reports of investigations on Anthony Rouco, Jeff Copp, Paul Maldonado, Judith Jorden, Manuel Olmos, Joseph Gallion or any other current or former Agency employee. This also includes the Polygraph Report of Examination regarding Group Supervisor Anthony Rouco.

2. The Appellant and his attorney shall not disclose any Agency Report of Investigation (including exhibits unless the exhibit consists of federal court testimony which is public record) of other Agency employees to any other person except those employees of his attorney's office to whom the disclosure is reasonably and in good faith calculated to aid in the preparation and conduct of the hearing in this matter.

3. The Appellant and his attorney shall ensure that any other person to whom disclosure may be made of any part of, or information contained in, any Agency Report of Investigation (including exhibits unless the exhibit consists of federal court testimony which is public record) of other Agency employees, shall, prior to such disclosure, have read, understood, and acknowledged in writing his or her agreement to be bound by this Order.

4. No person to whom the Appellant and his counsel discloses any Agency Report of Investigation (including exhibits unless the exhibit consists of federal court testimony which is public record) of other Agency employees, may make any copies of, or further disclose any of the documents or information contained in the Reports of Investigation, including its exhibits.

5. The sole purpose for which any Agency Report of Investigation (including exhibits unless the exhibit consists of federal court testimony which is public record) of other Agency employees were disclosed to the Appellant was to allow him to prepare for and adjudicate his MSPB appeal. Neither the Appellant nor his attorney may use such documents for any other purpose.

6. Upon conclusion of the case, including an appeal, any Agency Report of Investigation (including exhibits unless the exhibit consists of federal court testimony which is public record) of other Agency employees and documents released under this Order shall be returned to the Agency representative within a reasonable time, not to exceed thirty (30) days from the date of final decision, if not appealed, or settlement, or the date of the decision on appeal. The Appellant's attorney shall certify, in writing, within thirty (30) days of the conclusion of the case, that there have been no copies made and that the complete set of agent's notes and documents have been returned.

7. The termination of the proceedings in this case shall not relieve any person to whom any Agency Report of Investigation (including exhibits unless the exhibit consists of federal court testimony which is public record) of other Agency employees are disclosed from the obligations of this Order, and the Administrative Judge shall retain jurisdiction after the final disposition of this case for the purpose of any application to enforce the provisions of this Order.

8. Any and all persons examining or otherwise handling any of the documents covered by this Order shall, prior to such examination or handling, acknowledge, in writing, that they have read, understood, and acknowledged their agreement to be bound by this Order. Any such acknowledgments shall be forwarded to the Agency's representative within five (5) days of signature.

9. At the conclusion of the MSPB case, when any Agency Report of Investigation (including exhibits unless the exhibit consists of federal court testimony which is public record) of other Agency employees are returned, a list of all persons who have seen such documentation shall be forwarded by the Appellant to the Agency representative with the documentation.


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