Federal prosecutor in Trump probe reprimanded in earlier case for secretly recording defense lawyer
The prosecutor has been identified as Karen Gilbert, who has been identified as a U.S. Attorney's Office's lawyer in the 2009 case.
A Justice Department prosecutor who helped secure last week’s indictment of former President Donald Trump was publicly reprimanded by a judge in 2009 for “gross negligence” in connection with secretly taping a defense lawyer and an investigator, an agency source has confirmed to Just The News.
The prosecutor, Karen Gilbert, is now serving as a deputy to Special Counsel Jack Smith, who on Thursday issued the 37-count indictment of Trump.
In the 2009 case, Gilbert was head of the U.S. Attorney's Office's narcotics division in Miami and was attempting to prosecute Dr. Ali Shaygan for allegedly prescribing medications illegally, court records show.
Gilbert and colleague in the case Sean Cronin launched a witness tampering investigation and got two witnesses to record conversations between Shaygan's defense lawyer and the investigator, the records show.
However, according to a stinging ruling by U.S. District Judge Alan Gold, the pair failed to get authorization to tape the conversations and did not inform the defense team that the witnesses were "cooperating with the government," thereby violating discovery obligations.
In addition, Gilbert didn't inform her bosses that the duo had launched the investigation in violation of policy. When asked later about the matter in the sanctions hearing, she testified under oath that “she thought she had.”
The judge determined Gilbert was "grossly negligent in her treatment" of the "significant and unique witness tampering investigation against defense counsel" and said there was no basis to have even started the probe.
Gilbert was found to have failed to seek "necessary information" about the witness tampering investigation and to have failed to have gotten proper approval for it. She failed to "independently verify the basis for Cronin's belief" that the witness probe was ever needed, according to records.
In the "Findings of Fact" part of Gold's document, he said the probe happened because of "personal animus against the defense" on behalf of Cronin, who answered to Gilbert.
The judge also concluded Gilbert pursued the witness tampering investigation "despite no evidence of wrongdoing."
Shaygan was eventually acquitted of all charges.
As a result of what the judge called the "bad faith" effort to prosecute Shaygan, he granted the doctor's request for sanctions and entered a "public reprimand" against the U.S Attorney's Office that specifically applied to Gilbert, Cronin and another prosecutor.
The Justice Department admitted at the time to "misconduct" and that it had made "serious mistakes" throughout the probe, but denied "bad faith" in the numerous policy and ethics violations.
The Justice Department did not respond to Just The News' request for comment.
Former senior Trump adviser and federal prosecutor Kash Patel last week called Gilbert “one of the most corrupt prosecutors to ever come out of the southern district of Miami.”
“Gilbert, who is likely to be the trial attorney in the Southern District of Florida, in 2009 was so reprimanded in a narcotics trafficking case that she had to retire from her position,” Patel told Fox News on Friday. “She has been pulling the reins on this investigation” into Trump, he added.
The court document notes that Gilbert "resigned" from the Narcotics division, but appears to have never left her government employer.
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