Thursday, May 10, 2007

Will There Be Criminal Charges From the U.S. Attorney Firings?

At a forum at Seattle University School of Law, former U.S. Attorneys John McKay (Western District of Washington) and David Iglesias (New Mexico) said that they expect criminal charges to be filed related to their firings -- along with six other U.S. Attorneys -- and from the subsequent Congressional investigations.  McKay, who is now on the Seattle faculty, speculated that obstruction of justice charges could be brought for interference with public corruption investigations in San Diego and New Mexico.  McKay and Iglesias also raised the possibility of perjury charges from the testimony of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty when they said the dismissals were performance-related.  A Seattle Times article (here) discusses the statements by McKay and Iglesias, and quotes from a statement issued by a Department of Justice spokesman that reads in part, "After several hours of testimony by the Attorney General, over 6,000 pages of documents released to Congress and hours of interviews with other senior DOJ officials, it is clear that the Attorney General did not ask for the resignation of any individual in order to interfere with or influence a particular prosecution for partisan political gain." 

Will there be any criminal charges?  The decision of the House Judiciary Committee to grant immunity to Monica Goodling, Gonzales' former White House liaison, makes it unlikely she will be charged.  The odds of the AG or DAG being charged are probably just as unlikely because their statements were couched in vague terms that would make it very difficult to meet the standard for a perjury prosecution.  This may be more of a publicity grab than anything else.  Then again, with many e-mails still unavailable, particularly from the White House, you never know because e-mails contain some of the darnedest things.  As McKay said, "This is going to get worse, not better."  We'll see how much worse. (ph -- thanks to YH)

Investigations, Prosecutions, Prosecutors | Permalink

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