Machen’s zeal has drawbacks, according to current and former prosecutors. Numerous current and former staff members complained that his intensity wears down subordinates, that he meddles too much in cases and that he doesn’t seem to trust the supervisors who work for him.
Some complained that Machen runs the office like he was a partner at his old law firm, treating employees like associates and pushing them to work outrageous hours while he gets all the glory.
Machen said he sees himself as like a coach — a leader who sets the game plan, picks the players, and bears responsibility for wins and losses. His approach contrasts with that of Jeffrey A. Taylor, a recent U.S. attorney who said in an interview that he saw his role as helping teammates achieve their own successes. Numerous prosecutors have said Taylor was demanding but more trusting of his supervisors than Machen is.