Disbarred Federal Prosecutor and Sexual Predator Mark Bennett Threatens to Sue Cold Case Volunteers Looking into the Suspicious Death of Whistleblower Dawn Pasela


  • Bennett threatens to sue Creators of Seeking Justice, a YouTube Live Investigative Series
  • Seeking Justice Creators Challenge Bennett to point out any inaccurate statements
  • Bennett’s threats follow efforts by Senior Assistant Ohio Attorney General Dan Kasaris to quash stories exposing his affair with government witness Kathryn Clover



        Shortly after the launch of Seeking Justice, a YouTube LIVE investigative series focused on mounting evidence that the 2012 death of whistleblower Dawn Pasela was the result of foul play, Mark Bennett and his attorney Michael Harvey, threatened to sue the series creators, claiming Bennett was being “defamed.”

          The Seeking Justice series was created by cold case volunteers and sought to elicit the public’s help examining new clues and fresh witness statements about the suspicious 2012 death of Dawn Pasela.  Dawn, who served as Office Manager for Prosecutors Mark Bennett and Dan Kasaris, was found dead in her apartment as she was about to testify about wrongdoing inside the Prosecutor’s Office.  The series followed discovery of new evidence and a 2023 Sheriff investigation that the Parma police ignored procedures, failed to collect multiple cell phones or any evidence, erred in not investigating Dawn’s missing computer and failed to take any action to reopen the case – even after a directive to do so.     During the series, interviews were conducted with private investigator Bob Friedrick, retired law enforcement officials, the Pasela family, and Attorney Kim Corral – all of whom stated a new investigation into what happened to Dawn should be launched.  In addition, a $10,000 reward leading to the arrest of a suspect in Dawn’s killing was announced, full details and series episodes are available at www.SeekingJusticeMedia.com.

Bennett’s Threat to file a Lawsuit Followed his Firing for Assaulting an Intern and Lengthy Disbarment Proceedings

          Mark Bennett, who supervised Dawn Pasela, threatened litigation even though national and international news organizations widely covered Bennett’s firing by the US Attorney’s Office, disbarment proceedings and findings by the Ohio Supreme Court, where Chief Justice Sharon Kennedy wrote that Bennett was not fit to practice law and “Bennett’s actions tainted the public trust. His conduct … undermined the credibility of and public faith in government, impeded the common good, and were not in the best interests of the American people ... he was also a representative of the United States and possessed all the powers that comes with that position. His actions demeaned both the legal profession and his government office,” Disciplinary Counsel v. Bennett, Slip Opinion No. 2023-Ohio-4752.

Bennett’s Disbarment, Criminal Activities Widely Reported

          Because Mark Bennett was a powerful government official who actively sought the limelight, his disbarment proceedings attracted widespread attention.  Moreover, his brazen misconduct – including assaulting an intern, lying about the contents on his government computer, making false statements to investigators, and sexually harassing a half dozen women, and soliciting sex from co-workers were detailed in Justice Department Inspector General Report # 21-005.

           Bennett’s misconduct the subject of multiple investigations available on government websites, including that of the Department of Justice, the Ohio Disciplinary Counsel and a 37 page ruling by the Ohio Supreme Court, which is also publicly available.  Bennett’s wrongdoing also been widely covered by journalists from Reuters, Law 360, WKBN-TV, Cleveland.com, The Ohio Channel, Buzzfeed, and many others.

Summary of Mark Bennett’s Wrongdoing and Misconduct throughout Tony Viola’s Criminal Proceedings

            Bennett’s ‘win at all costs’ style of prosecuting American citizens was on full display during USA v. Viola, 08-cr-506, ND Ohio, where Bennett’s wide ranging criminality included:

  • Directing his Office Manager, Dawn Pasela, to illegally record a series of post-indictment conversations with Tony so prosecutors could obtain confidential defense trial strategy information.  Bennett also failed to turn over the recordings made by Ms. Pasela, in violation of Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 16.
  • Covering up an affair between Prosecutor Dan Kasaris and government witness Kathryn Clover while Clover testified in criminal cases
  • Knowingly using the perjured testimony of Kathryn Clover – an admission Bennett made in writing, USA v. Clover 10-cr-75, ND Ohio, Docket # 46; also see the Clover PSI report, where prosecutors claimed it was “in the interests of justice” to use perjured trial testimony in order to “win” the case.
  • Making materially false statements that Tony executed a “conflict of interest” waiver to joint defense at trial, when such was not the case, please see Viola v. Bennett, No. 1:2017-cv-00456 - Document 10 (N.D. Ohio 2017)
  • Lying about evidence, as both the FBI and Justice Department blame Mr. Bennett for making material misrepresentations about evidence in the criminal case, Viola v. U.S. Department of Justice, et. al., 15-cv-242, WD Pa, document numbers 99 and 164.  Also see case number 22-2186, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, brief submitted on Tony’s behalf by Yale Law School.

Bennett’s threats of Litigation and Seeking Justice Response

          In Bennett’s letter threatening litigation (that communication and the full response by Seeking Justice are available in the Evidence Locker of FreeTonyViola.com), Bennett complains that other news outlets have defamed him – and he expects Seeking Justice will also defame him, so he threatened litigation.  In its response, Seeking Justice made clear that:

  • It was not responsible for the statements of other organizations;
  • Bennett was a powerful government official who actively sought the limelight and was a “public person” for First Amendment purposes
  • Bennett should cite with specificity any statement on the Seeking Justice, Uncovered.com, JusticeForDawn.com or www.FreeTonyViola.com website that is false, or which (if any) documents are not authentic.

            Once challenged to name any inaccuracies, Bennett never responded, but the letter to Seeking Justice contains the stunning admissions that Mr. Bennett was aware that Dawn was wearing a wire and intruding into the sixth amendment right to counsel prior to the commencement of the federal trial, USA vs.  Viola, 08-cr-506, N.D. Ohio.  This admission is at variance with previous statements by Bennett that he was unaware of any voice recordings.  In fact, for over a decade, Bennett made false statements in federal court about the existence of voice recordings, stating that:


“Viola claims … Dawn Pasela secretly recorded conversations with Viola, post indictment.  Viola also argues that prosecutors used cancelled checks from Pasela’s contributions to Viola’s legal defense fund to identify the fund’s bank account. … Viola’s claims of government misconduct relating to Pasela are not true … claims of government misconduct with respect to Pasela is blatantly untrue,”  USA v. Viola, 08-cr-506, N.D. Ohio, Docket # 483, page 21, 6/16/15.

         As of 2024, however, Bennett now offers a new explanation:

“As part of trial preparation, the FBI Agent assigned to the federal trial learned of the recording from one of the agents working on the state prosecution case.  Mr. Bennett immediately instructed the FBI agent to obtain a copy of the one recording and listen to the recording … Bennett advised the Agent to make copies … and provide it to defense counsel,” 2024 letter to Seeking Justice from Attorney Michael P. Harvey.

          Defense attorneys have stated in writing that Bennett’s statement is false, and that they never received any voice recordings, or they would have raised the issue in court at the time.  Moreover, Bennett’s 2024 statements constitutes newly discovered evidence that he failed to comply with his constitutional responsibilities to provide the defense with recordings with a defendant’s voice on them. 

            Finally, since the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s office has stated in writing that it is reviewing the suspicious death of Dawn Pasela, Bennett and his attorney were informed that any information in their possession should be provided to the proper authorities at once, and counsel for Bennett, Michael Harvey of Rocky River, Ohio was advised to report this misconduct to the Ohio Disciplinary Counsel and direct Bennett to withdraw his false statements in Tony’s criminal proceedings.   

Senior Assistant Ohio Attorney General Daniel Kasaris and his Attorney, David “Chip” Comstock, also Attempt to Silence Journalists

            Attorney David “Chip” Comstock and Prosecutor Dan Kasaris have also threatened journalists and bloggers highlighting criminal activities of Kasaris.  Individuals threatened with prosecution, or who were actually prosecuted, include Elsebeth Baumgartner, Brian “BZ” Douglas, Ashli Ford and others.  In addition, Kasaris threatened to imprison Tony as a result of the publication of hundreds of emails between Kasaris and government witness (and Kasaris paramour) Kathryn Clover on the FreeTonyViola.com website, which included Kasaris’ own racist emails detailing his opinions about “Africans” and “Jews,” discussions of using false testimony at trial, talking about altering documents inside the prosecutor’s office as well as the publication of over 100 pages of Facebook messages from Susan Kasaris, the wife of Daniel Kasaris, complaining about his affair with Clover. 

           Since 2016, Kasaris – who has been elected to public office on multiple occasions and who maintains a campaign fund -- issued a series of written and verbal threats to prosecute or re-imprison Tony or anyone assisting with the website, alleging the statements violated Ohio Revised Code 2921.03(A) by hindering a public official carrying out his lawful duties.  To read the pleadings in the First Amendment case, please see Viola v. Yost, et. al., Case No. 2:21-cv-3088, S.D. Ohio

          “The walls are closing in on Mark Bennett and Dan Kasaris,” said Tony Viola.  “For decades, these prosecutors felt invincible and acted with impunity as their reckless behavior destroyed lives and caused the death of Dawn Pasela.  As we continue to expose criminal actions of Kasaris and Bennett, more and more journalists and citizens are taking note.  We are working hard to having Bennett and Kasaris arrested and imprisoned for their actions.  We are also seeking justice and accountability for what Bennett and Kasaris did to Dawn Pasela.”

           The FreeTonyViola investigative and legal team is currently unearthing new evidence of serious wrongdoing by Bennett and Kasaris.  If you have any information about wrongdoing by these individuals, please reach out to the FreeTonyViola.com investigative team, or submit a tip anonymously anytime on line.  To read the Bennett threats to file a lawsuit against cold case volunteers, or to review the Seeking Justice response to Bennett, please visit the FreeTonyViola.com Evidence Locker.

# # #