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DOJ investigating Gonzales perjury allegations

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice has begun an internal inquiry to determine whether Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official profile; JURIST news archive] may have perjured himself [JURIST report] in testimony before Congress, DOJ Inspector General Glenn A. Fine [official profile] said Thursday. In a letter [PDF text] dated August 16, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) asked [JURIST report; press release] Fine to investigate potentially misleading or dishonest testimony given by Gonzales in hearings before the committee regarding the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program [JURIST news archive] and the Justice Department's handling of the firings of eight US Attorneys [JURIST news archive]. Fine responded to Leahy's concerns in a four-paragraph letter [PDF text] Thursday and said those concerns are being addressed. Fine did not specify how long the investigation will last, but said it could take months. AP has more.

Several US senators called for a special prosecutor last month to investigate the perjury allegations, while some members of the US House of Representatives pushed for an impeachment inquiry [JURIST reports]. Gonzales announced his resignation [letter, PDF; JURIST report] this week following months of controversy, saying he will step down from his position as attorney general September 17.

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