The driver of former First Lady Michelle Obama, who is also a U.S. Secret Service employee, has been charged with witness intimidation and criminal harassment.
According to a report filed by the Oak Bluffs Police Department last month, Douglas Vines, 53, was involved in a relationship with a woman which allegedly ended up with the latter’s harassment. The woman told police that she had been dating Vines for about two months when an uncomfortable situation came up one evening when Vines asked her to have sex with him, which she declined.
The Secret Service employee is said to have gone “off the handle,” shouting at the woman and texting her that she was “messing with the wrong person,” the report said, according to CNN.
Vines is alleged to have used his position as the Obama family driver to intimidate the woman. He is accused of threatening the woman to have her deported as he had secretly recorded one of their conversations during which time she had revealed her citizenship status.
Vines also reportedly told the woman that he could get into her phone and read her text messages. He claimed to possess her DNA, the report stated.
Vines is said to have had images of the woman that he threatened to release and get her deported if she went to the police. One of the images was a shirtless picture of the woman covering her breasts.
The woman told the police that she was “in distress” because Vines had possession of consensual and non-consensual nude photos or videos, and she was worried he would use them against her. The woman attested that Vines never threatened to physically harm her. Instead, he is accused of having “emotionally abused” her.
In an email to MV Times, Anthony Guglielmi, chief of communications for the Secret Service, said that the agency has “extraordinarily high” ethical standards and found the allegations against Vines “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,” the email stated.
The Secret Service later made it clear that Vines is only an investigative protection officer and not an agent of the agency.
At the court, Judge Edward Lynch allowed vacating a restraining order against Vines owing to a lack of evidence of physical harm or threats of physical harm.
The allegation leveled against Vines is that he threatened to deport the woman. But the judge noted that threatening to deport someone cannot be a basis for issuing a restraining order.
In his testimony, Vines insisted that he never struck the woman or threatened her. Before the immigration status issue came up, their relationship had no issues, he said.
Upon discovering that the woman was undocumented, he felt it was a matter of policy to report to his employer that he was involved with a foreign national, Vines said.
Because Vines is suspended, he has been removed from former President Barack Obama’s detail. He is due in court for a pretrial hearing on Dec. 19.