FDA Official Expected in Court Thursday on Charges of Soliciting Prostitution
Dr. William Maisel faces charges of soliciting prostitution in the midst of an FDA employee-spying scandal.
Dr. William Maisel, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) official charged by the Howard County Police Department in July with soliciting a prostitute, is scheduled to appear in district court on Thursday.
Maisel, the deputy director of the Center for Devices and Radiological Health–which has become embroiled in an employee-spying scandal–is facing four counts of soliciting prostitution and one count of disorderly conduct after police executed a prostitution sting in southeast Howard County.
According to charging documents from district court, an undercover female police officer approached Maisel at a restaurant on Route 1 in Jessup and asked him if he wanted "a date." Maisel agreed and asked how much it would cost for sex.
The undercover officer led Maisel to a room at a nearby hotel, where a team of officers arrested him, according to the documents..
In a matter unrelated to the solicitation charges, the CDRH has come under scrutiny for allegedly spying on employees and firing whistleblowers, according to a July report in The New York Times.
The alleged surveillance also led to a list of "targets" who had a history of criticizing the FDA, and the list ranged from reporters to Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and President Obama, reports The Times.
FDA officials defended the surveillance as being limited to five scientists in order to determine whether confidential documents about medical device safety were being leaked, according to The Times.
Now, the National Whistleblower Center (NWC) is asking whether the charges against Maisel are indicative of his involvement in the FDA surveillance activity, reports The Washington Post.
According to the NWC, Maisel was responsible for firing Ewa Czerska–one of the FDA employees observed in the surveillance–and the whistleblowers are asking whether Maisel's work will be investigated, reports The Post.
FDA spokesperson Erica Jefferson told The Post that the administration considers the solicitation charges "a personal matter" that would not affect his work.