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Gonzales defends firing prosecutors

[JURIST] US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official profile] defended his role in the firings of federal prosecutors [JURIST news archive] Friday, admitting that there has been some confusion but that his involvement in the matter was limited to signing off on recommendations made by his former chief of staff Kyle Sampson [official profile]. Gonzales told reporters that his motivations for the decisions "were not based on improper reasons." Sampson, who resigned earlier this month [DOJ press release], told the Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] Thursday that the prosecutors were fired for political reasons [JURIST report] rather than for poor performance as the Justice Department has claimed [JURIST report]. Sampson also said Gonzales did more than merely follow his recommendations, and that Gonzales and former White House counsel Harriet Miers [official profile] were deeply involved in the firings.

In Friday's White House press briefing White House spokesperson Dana Perino contradicted earlier speculation, and told reporters that despite any reports to the contrary, the President has "100 percent confidence" in Gonzales [press briefing transcript]. AP has more.

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