WASHINGTON - Emptying the trash, carrying groceries, and toting golf clubs were among duties several US marshals say they were assigned while protecting two federal judges in New York over the last decade - one of whom has been nominated to be the next US attorney general.
The valet-like chores were outlined in an employee grievance two years ago against Michael B. Mukasey, another judge, and their wives by deputy marshals assigned to the security details.
The complaint filed with the US Marshals Service headquarters in Washington says deputies weren't allowed to flush the toilet when working on the night shift - even though the US Marshals Service "pays rent for the right to use this toilet." It also accuses one of the judges and his wife of demanding to swap their airplane coach seats for first-class fare, which the marshals bought with taxpayer money.
If confirmed as the 81st US attorney general, Mukasey would oversee the Marshals Service.
The complaint, first obtained by the Associated Press in 2005, does not specify which judge or spouse is responsible for assigning which tasks to the deputy marshals included in their grievance.
It also does not name Mukasey or the other judge, Kevin Thomas Duffy, although they were the only two jurists in the federal courthouse in New York's southern district who had longstanding US marshals security details then.
Mukasey was given protection for his role presiding over high-profile terrorist trials, including sentencing Omar Abdel-Rahman to life in prison for plotting to blow up the United Nations.
"It has gotten to the point where the protectees of both details maintain such a level of control that it has created an unsafe and hostile work environment," the complaint says. "Their attention is diverted from their true mission: protection."
A Justice Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the matter, said the most of the complaints outlined in the grievance were aimed at Duffy but the official would not specify which ones.
White House spokesman Tony Fratto said Mukasey "has never treated anyone with anything less than respect."
The Brooklyn-based deputies who signed the complaint have refused to speak about their treatment. Several from other districts who protected Mukasey before the Brooklyn office took over said they never saw the judge or his family mistreat the marshals.