A disagreement has erupted between Justice Department prosecutors and Drug Enforcement Administration officials over plea-bargaining with two Washington-area men whose arrest on cocaine-distribution charges sparked an investigation into alleged drug use on Capitol Hill, sources familiar with the case say.
DEA officials have objected to some of the plea offers that Justice officials have considered for the two, charging that they are "a sellout" after more than a year of DEA effort pursuing the case against the two men--Troy M. Todd Jr., 23, of Potomac and Douglas W. Marshall, 27, of Northwest Washington--according to those sources.
Todd and Marshall have pleaded not guilty to all charges against them.
"They DEA officials were very, very angry with some of the agreements that Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Bernstein was going along with," said one source familiar with the case. DEA officials have voiced their objections to top Justice Department officials.
Prosecutors had hoped to obtain Todd's and Marshall's cooperation in their investigation of alleged drug use on Capitol Hill.
According to some sources, DEA officials believe Justice cannot get indictments against any current or past congressmen even with the help of Todd and Marshall and therefore want vigorous prosecution of those two.
Another source, however, said the reason DEA officials were "enraged" was because the offers being considered by prosecutors "did not involve total cooperation" in the Capitol Hill probe in exchange for a guilty plea to some of the charges.
"As a result of that information of DEA's attitude , there are not going to be any negotiations," said Stanley M. Dietz, Todd's attorney. "The DEA is out to crucify my client."
Bernstein declined to comment.
Sources familiar with the negotiations would not be specific about the Justice Department discussions, but they said that in all offers prosecutors were asking for guilty pleas on felony charges.
Todd, Marshall and Robert A. Finkel were arrested at Marshall's home in April 1982 after an undercover D.C. police officer allegedly bought cocaine from them. Finkel, who is now in the federal witness protection program, told authorities that a drug ring supplied cocaine and marijuana to congressional employes.
The arrests sparked federal and congressional investigations into drug use by congressmen and Capitol Hill aides.
Todd and Marshall were indicted last November on charges of operating a cocaine-distribution ring. One of the charges against Todd, who is accused of being the mastermind of the ring, carries a minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, according to Dietz.
At a hearing yesterday before U.S. District Court Judge Thomas F. Hogan, James Bradley, the D.C. police officer who arrested Todd and Marshall, referred to Todd as the "Godfather" of the operation, a label he said was used by Finkel.
Dietz said the name was a figment of Finkel's imagination. In an interview yesterday, Todd called the "Godfather" label "totally ridiculous" and said the first time he had heard of it was in documents filed by the prosecution.
Todd, who has been in custody here since April 17, was released on $300,000 bail yesterday, after his father raised the funds by putting up a home in Potomac and cashing in all of his retirement accounts, and two aunts in Clearwater, Fla., put up their homes and some cash as security. Marshall was released on bail on April 20.