A former FBI agent has pleaded guilty to allegations that he purposely destroyed records on a computer hard drive in a case that led to the conviction of a Republican lawmaker.
A criminal filing in the Western District of Arkansas Federal Court confirms that Robert Cessario “did corruptly alter, destroy, and mutilate an object, that is, a computer hard drive” in 2017.
He destroyed contained records in the federal prosecution of former Arkansas State Senator Jon Woods of Springdale.
Cessario’s plea agreement says:
“In my capacity as a special agent and as part of the investigation, I obtained recordings from a cooperating defendant.
“I placed these recordings on a government computer that had been issued to me for use in conducting covert operations that would not be traceable to a government computer.
“I knew that these recordings pertained to the prosecution in United States vs. Woods, et al.
“I took the computer to a commercial computer business and paid that company to ‘wipe’ the computer.
“I personally performed another procedure to ‘wipe’ the computer.
“I erased the contents of the computer hard drive knowing that the Court had ordered that the computer be submitted for a forensic examination.
“I did so with the intention of making the contents of the computer’s hard drive unavailable for forensic examination.
“I am guilty of the violation alleged,” he said.