DC Council holds intense hearing on Falcicchio harassment investigation

D.C. legal officials were questioned for hours Wednesday in a public hearing over a probe related to a now-former deputy mayor who was found to have sexually harassed two women.

John Falcicchio, a former deputy mayor and ex-chief of staff for D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, was accused last year of sexual harassment by two city employees. A settlement agreement was reached last month.

The hearing Wednesday was led by Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau, who was behind emergency legislation last year to conduct an independent investigation.

"My assertion from the onset was the Mayor's Office of Legal Counsel couldn’t possibly be independent, because they’re right there and located in the executive office of the mayor. Even if they were, the appearance to the public would be that they weren’t," Councilmember Nadeau said Wednesday.


Settlement reached in former DC deputy mayor's sexual harassment case

A settlement agreement has been reached in relation to former D.C. Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio, who was found to have sexually harassed two women.

The hearing Wednesday included the firm Arnold & Porter, who conducted the investigation and wrote the report. 

Councilmembers also heard from the Office of the Inspector General and Vanessa Natale, who serves as deputy director of the Mayor’s Office of Legal Counsel (MOLC). 

Nearly two weeks ago, a letter was sent to MOLC from the D.C. Attorney General formally requesting all materials in MOLC’s possession related to the Falcicchio investigation.

"The OAG expects the MOLC’s full cooperation in providing the requested information. Refusal to produce this information will not only impede OAG’s ability to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation but will also necessitate the OAG pursuing alternative means to obtain this information through the legal process," the letter said in part.


Unredacted report on former DC deputy mayor John Falcicchio sexual harassment case leaked

An unredacted report about sexual harassment allegations against former D.C. Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio has been leaked.

Ward 5 Councilmember Zachary Parker questioned Natale about the process.

"The Attorney General doesn’t have the subpoena or court order to look at the administrative file and the final report," Natale explained. "The Mayor’s orders, which has the rule of law, states we cannot disseminate or disclose unless it’s by a court order."

She added that the office offered to provide some documents but not the entire case file. 

The offered documents were the ones deemed "relevant by Arnold & Porter," according to Natale.

"You offered the documents that you determined were relevant for the Attorney General to see," Councilmember Parker said.

READ MORE: Investigation says Falcicchio engaged in incidents of physical sexual advances with 2nd staffer

Natale responded that the documents were specifically related to the second complainant.

"I have no others. This is no cover-up. This is nothing," she said.

It was also discussed Wednesday that Falcicchio’s phone and computer were still in possession of MOLC.

"It is my sincere hope that a law enforcement agency takes possession of those, so they can determine whether or not any criminal activity has occurred that we’re not already aware of," Councilmember Nadeau said.

D.C.’s Department of Human Resources was asked to testify but did not Wednesday. 

Nadeau said if they did, she would have wanted to ask about sexual harassment officers.

"Those are people within each agency and the fact that there have been vacancies when this all occurred led to rigmarole with MOLC ultimately leading the investigation. The Mayor’s orders says there shall be a sexual harassment officer, an alternate for every agency and they will be listed on the website. Right now, there appears to be several vacancies. We couldn’t ask questions about that. Is the website not updated? Are those actual vacancies? Who are the backups? What training have they received?" she explained.

A spokesperson in D.C.’s HR Office said they provided prehearing responses to Councilmember Nadeau's Office.

FOX 5 reached out to the last known attorney for Falcicchio but did not hear back as of this writing.

A spokesperson for Mayor Muriel Bowser indicated she would not be releasing a statement on the hearing.