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Top Gonzales aide involved in US Attorney firings resigns

[JURIST] Monica M. Goodling [JURIST news archive], one of the key aides who took part in planning the firings of eight US Attorneys [JURIST news archive] who was formerly on voluntary leave from her post as special counsel to the US Attorney General, submitted her resignation without cause Friday. Goodling's resignation, effective Saturday, is the third by a Department of Justice official involved in the controversy. On Tuesday, Goodling told the House Judiciary Committee [official website] that she would not speak to the committee about her role in the firings [JURIST report], and stated through her lawyer, John Dowd, that she would seek protection under the Fifth Amendment if the committee issued her a subpoena. Documents and records released by the DOJ [JURIST report] in late March show that Goodling participated in multiple meetings planning the firings over a period of 12 months. Goodling was also involved in a April 6, 2006 telephone conversation with Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) [official profile]. Domenici had complained to the Bush administration concerning the speed of former Albuquerque US Attorney David Iglesias' investigation of local Democrats before the November 2006 elections. Dowd characterized any questioning of his client a "perjury trap" while citing the recent conviction of Lewis Libby [JURIST report] in the CIA leak case [JURIST news archive].

On Monday, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) [official website], chair of the US Senate Judiciary Committee [official website], rejected attempts [JURIST report] by the Bush administration to move up the date that US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official profile] is scheduled to testify. In March, Kyle Sampson [official profile], former chief of staff to Gonzales, who had resigned [DOJ press release], told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the prosecutors were fired for political reasons [JURIST report] rather than for poor performance as the Justice Department has claimed [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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