Press Release April 19, 2021

Goodwin Independent Investigation Finds Former Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Behavior “Concerning,” But Not Criminal

On April 15, 2021, District Attorney Rachael Rollins of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office (“SCDAO”) issued a press release announcing the conclusion and findings of Goodwin’s independent internal investigation relating to former Assistant District Attorney Adam Foss during his tenure at the SCDAO.

In November 2020, a number of women published their accounts of their experiences with Mr. Foss, who was employed as an SCDAO ADA from September 2008 to May 2016. Shortly after these reports concerning Mr. Foss surfaced, DA Rollins issued a press release announcing the Office’s independent investigation into Mr. Foss’s behavior while he was a SCDAO employee, and that the SCDAO had retained Goodwin partners Roberto Braceras and Jennifer Chunias to lead the independent investigation. Specifically, the Goodwin team was directed to (i) investigate whether there were allegations or evidence that Mr. Foss engaged in conduct during his tenure that violated policy, law, or ethical rules, and (ii) review relevant policies and procedures in place at SCDAO during Mr. Foss’s tenure, as well as today.

The Goodwin investigators ultimately interviewed 28 people, and conducted targeted searches of a vast collection of electronic documents, including over 500,000 emails, and a comprehensive review of current and legacy Office policies. Mr. Foss declined to be interviewed or to respond to Goodwin’s written questions, and, in light of the sensitive nature of Goodwin’s investigation, the witnesses who did agree to speak with Goodwin did so on the condition of anonymity. 

In sum, Goodwin’s investigation did not reveal evidence of any per se violation of any law, formal SCDAO policy, or ethical rules by Mr. Foss during his tenure as an ADA. Goodwin’s review, however, identified evidence that Mr. Foss engaged in concerning conduct with at least two adult female SCDAO interns and students that violated informal SCDAO expectations and norms. Goodwin also did not identify any evidence that past or present SCDAO leadership was ever aware of Mr. Foss’s misconduct pertaining to women inside or outside the Office, prior to the allegations in late 2020 that led to Goodwin’s retention to conduct this review. Goodwin’s investigation likewise did not identify any evidence that SCDAO senior management failed to respond to any allegation of misconduct by Mr. Foss during his tenure. 

Finally, pursuant to SCDAO’s request, Goodwin made certain recommendations regarding potential enhancements to certain legacy SCDAO policies, compliance reporting procedures, and employee training, to ensure that they appropriately address the key areas of risk identified through our investigation. 

In addition to Goodwin Litigation partners Roberto Braceras and Jennifer Chunias, the Goodwin investigation team included Litigation Associates Katy Dacey, Dylan Schweers, and Virginia Calistro, with significant assistance from Goodwin employment partner Christina Lewis, as well as Danielle Panetta and Andrea Boivin.