Former Federal Prosecutor Mark Bennett faces Suspension of Law License after Admissions of Sexually Predatory Behavior and Making False Statements

        Former federal prosecutor Mark Bennett admitted demanding “nude photos” from an intern, “physically and verbally harassed” multiple individuals, used social media accounts to solicit sex, then covered up his actions by making false statements to Department of Justice investigators.  Bennett also engaged in sexually predatory behavior and made materially false statements during the criminal prosecution of Tony Viola, including covering up an affair between Prosecutor Daniel Kasaris and government witness Kathryn Clover, directing his Office Manager to illegally record Viola’s defense trial preparation, knowingly utilizing perjured testimony to “win” convictions and making false statements about his possession of exculpatory evidence and lying about the existence of a "conflict of interest" waiver.  As a result of Bennett’s violations of the law, the Disciplinary Counsel of the Ohio Supreme Court filed charges against Bennett that could lead to his disbarment or his suspension from the practice of law.  On September 6, 2022, Bennett admitted the allegations set forth in the Disciplinary Counsel's complaint, including that he deliberately ran “his arm across the intern’s breast without her consent,” and stalked the intern even after she blocked him on social media.  Bennett also “inappropriately touched” and “sexually harassed” multiple individuals.  In response to the charges, Bennett admitted all of the allegations and said he thought his actions were “acceptable.”  Now, however, Bennett is “remorseful for his conduct,” Disciplinary Counsel case number 2022-034 and Inspector General Investigation 21-005.

       Throughout his prosecutorial career, Bennett actively sought the limelight, frequently holding court with journalists, commenting on active prosecutions, speaking at press conferences, issuing press releases and even starring in a YouTube video touting his prosecution of Viola in the “Nation’s Largest Mortgage Fraud case.”  Bennett received awards for prosecuting Viola and others, and even sought letters of recommendations from local attorneys during his failed campaign to convince former President Trump to appoint him as a federal judge. 

       Following Viola’s exoneration at a second trial and admissions by the FBI and Justice Department that each made false statements about evidence in his criminal case, and following the FBI’s statement that it was unaware of nearly 10,000 records in its own records system, Viola was released from jail after a decade of imprisonment.  Viola then asked the Justice Department to update its press release touting Viola’s initial conviction.  When that request was ignored, Viola filed suit alleging violations of the Privacy Act, and provided confirmation of Bennett’s misconduct throughout the criminal proceedings, Viola v. U.S. Department of Justice, et. al., Case No. 1:21-cv-1462-CKK, District of Columbia District Court.  Additionally, in September, 2022, Viola formally asked the Disciplinary Counsel to amend the charges against Bennett to include misconduct established in his case.

      “For many years, the United States Attorney’s Office in Cleveland has misled the federal judiciary and the public by defending Mark Bennett’s actions in criminal cases,” said Tony Viola.  “Despite being fully aware of Bennett’s ‘lack of candor’ and sexually predatory behavior, the government has falsely portrayed Bennett as an honest prosecutor and failed to divulge key facts relevant to multiple criminal proceedings.  It is long past time to re-open criminal cases where Bennett has been credibly charged with misconduct, particularly in cases where other government officials blame Bennett for withholding evidence, making false statements or where Bennett himself admitted utilizing perjured testimony to ‘win’ convictions.”

      To learn more about how Tony proved his innocence at a second trial utilizing evidence Mark Bennett suppressed before his first trial, kindly visit  Please also note that all of the documents referenced in this blog are available in the Evidence Locker.

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