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Justice Department releases inventory of withheld documents on US Attorney firings

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice [official website] released an inventory of 171 internal documents withheld from Congress [PDF text] Thursday, resisting congressional demands that the department disclose and release emails and memos involving the controversial firing of eight US attorneys [JURIST news archive]. The withheld documents involve communications between members of Congress as well as internal department communications, many of which focused on the media coverage of the firings. The House Judiciary Committee [official website] has demanded that the department release uncensored documents, which the department has resisted. Assistant Attorney General Richard Hertling has said that other document inventories will be released to Congress "on a rolling basis." Previously released documents [House Judiciary archive] generally included pages of text blacked out.

On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee granted immunity to Monica M. Goodling [JURIST report], former special counsel to US Attorney Alberto Gonzales, in exchange for her testimony on the firings of the eight US attorneys. Earlier in the week President Bush again defended Gonzales [JURIST report] after the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee publicly rebuked the Attorney General for his role in the controversial firings and characterized Gonzales' latest testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee [JURIST report] as being "very, very damaging" to his credibility. AP has more.

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