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DOJ considered politics in evaluating US Attorneys: documents

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] took federal prosecutors' political activities and connections to the conservative Federalist Society into account in deciding whether to retain or dismiss them, according to documents [PDF files] released Friday by the DOJ to the US House Judiciary Committee. Among the 2394 newly released pages of e-mails, schedules and memos were a chart detailing the politics of all 124 US Attorneys [official website; JURIST news archive] appointed since 2001 and hand-written notes by former aide to US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales Monica Goodling [JURIST news archive], explaining reasons why some of the eight dismissed US Attorneys were let go. Goodling wrote that Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) [official website] said dismissed New Mexico US Attorney David Iglesias "doesn't move cases." Domenici is accused of pressuring Iglesias to speed up indictments [JURIST report] of local Democrats under investigation for a kickback scheme in time for the November elections. Goodling resigned [JURIST report] last week, refusing to testify to Congress about her part in the firings under her constitutional right against self-incrimination. Several of the 124 prosecutors on the list were also members of the conservative Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies [organization website], but it is unclear how this information was used by the DOJ. The documents also suggest that, contrary to previous testimony by DOJ officials, replacements for the fired attorneys had already been picked nearly a year before the dismissals.

On Tuesday, the US House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena [JURIST report; PDF text] to Gonzales for DOJ documents relating to the firings. AP has more.

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