Secret Service driver for Michelle Obama placed on leave after being charged with criminal harassment, witness intimidation

A member of the Obama family’s Secret Service protective detail on Martha’s Vineyard, who serves as a driver for former first lady Michelle Obama, has found himself in a bit of legal trouble.

Secret Service employee Douglas Vines was charged last week with criminal harassment and witness intimidation and was subsequently placed on administrative leave by his federal employer, the Conservative Brief reported.

Those charges stem from an argument Vines reportedly had with a woman he was dating, who is an undocumented immigrant, in which he is alleged to have threatened to turn her in to authorities and have her deported, as well as to release nude photos of her that he possessed, after she declined to have sex with him.

Charged and arraigned

The MV Times reported last week that Vines had pleaded not guilty during a contentious arraignment hearing and was released on his own recognizance with a “no contact” order with the woman placed against him.

Per a police report obtained by the Times, the woman had alleged that Vines had sexually assaulted her — though that was not mentioned in the hearing, nor was he charged — and had threatened to reveal nude photos and videos he had taken of her without her consent, as well as threatened to have her deported.

A restraining order had initially been placed against Vines, but it was vacated by the judge during the hearing due to there being no evidence of any threats or actual instances of physical harm, and because “Threatening to deport somebody is not a basis for a restraining order.”

Claims of threats and intimidation

CNN reported that, according to court documents and the police report, the woman claimed that the argument began after she had declined a request from Vines to have sex, at which point he flew “off the handle” and began to repeatedly call and text her with threats to expose her immigration status and have her deported.

She further alleged that Vines had attempted to use his position as a Secret Service employee to intimidate her and also told her that, in addition to the nude photos and videos, he had also obtained her DNA, had recorded their conversation in which she admitted to being in the country illegally, and could access her cell phone to obtain other information about her.

The account of what happened was decidedly different from Vines, however, according to the Times, as he denied any wrongdoing and instead claimed that she had begun the argument and threatened him after he had learned of her immigration status and let her know that he would have to inform his superiors of his relationship with a “foreign national,” which she didn’t want him to do.

Placed on administrative leave

The MV Times also reported that it had received an email from the Secret Service that clarified that Vines was merely an agency employee and not a full-fledged agent who, due to the allegations and criminal charges against him, had been suspended and placed on leave, was ordered to turn in his service weapon and other equipment, and was removed from the Obama’s detail on Martha’s Vineyard.

“The United States Secret Service was made aware of the charges against our employee and the outcome of today’s court proceedings,” Secret Service communications chief Anthony Guglielmi said. “We have extraordinarily high ethical standards, and the allegations are very concerning.”

“Consistent with our protocols, the employee has been placed on administrative leave, and their security clearance has been suspended. The employee has been restricted from accessing any Secret Service facility or protected site,” he added.

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