U.S. Attorneys Offices

D Kyle Sampson Kyle Sampson Kyle D Sampson Kyle Samson Above the Law blog.jpg* Return of the Equal Rights Amendment? [Washington Post via How Appealing]
* Rumsfeld torture charges dropped because his actions were related to his government position. [CNN]
* DOJ: Monica mum, but Sampson speaking. [
MSNBC]
* On that subject, here’s a chart and timeline with links for all you need to know about “Attorneygate.” [Slate]
* Now that his ex-wife has become a man, the ex-husband is seeking to end alimony payments on that basis. [CNN]

Paul McNulty Paul J McNulty Above the Law blog.jpegThat’s the gist of this lengthy, extremely interesting, thoroughly researched special report. It’s by one of our favorite reporters, Jan Crawford Greenburg — who’s on the verge of replacing Linda Greenhouse as undisputed queen bee of the SCOTUS press corps hive.
After reading the JCG piece, a devastating indictment of McNulty’s involvement in this debacle, one possible outcome presents itself as increasingly likely:

Alberto Gonzales stays on as Attorney General — but Paul McNulty’s head rolls.

A scandal this big needs to claim some victims before it dies down. Some high-ranking DOJ or White House officials must be sacrificed to the vengeful Senate Democrats. And, with all due respect, Kyle Sampson isn’t a sufficiently big fish. Nor is Monica Goodling, for that matter.
But the Deputy Attorney General of the United States? Now that’s another story…
Update: The question then becomes whether McNulty goes quietly. There’s a good case to be made that the answer is no.
DOJ Official Ignored White House Guidance [ABC News]
Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty biography [U.S. Department of Justice]
Paul J. McNulty bio [Wikipedia]

Monica Goodling 4 Monica M Goodling Monica Gooding Alberto Gonzales Above the Law blog.JPGIf so, we’d love to hear from you — please email us (subject line: “Monica Goodling”). Now that Goodling, who served as the Justice Department’s White House liaison (she’s currently on leave), has announced her intention to invoke the Fifth Amendment privilege, the public is hungry for more details about this mystery woman of the DOJ.
So what we do know about Monica Goodling — besides her weakness for Ralph Lauren clothing and red plastic cups?
Dan Froomkin, over at White House Watch, offers up a detailed and comprehensive write-up (with numerous links). He explains why Beltway insiders are once again fixated on a young woman named Monica:

Will another presidency be tripped up by another Monica?

Juries in criminal cases are sternly lectured not to assume guilt when a defendant takes the Fifth. It is, after all, a Constitutional right.

But when a fairly minor player in what had heretofore not been considered a criminal investigation suddenly admits that she faces legal jeopardy if she tells the truth to a Congressional panel? Well, in that case, wild speculation is an inevitable and appropriate reaction.

The WSJ Law Blog also has a nice round-up:

Who is Monica Goodling? She’s a White House liaison for AG Alberto Gonzales and is currently on leave. Emails released by the DOJ last week showed she played a central role in the dismissals. Thanks to this story, we also know that she’s 33, a 1995 graduate Messiah College in Grantham, Pa., and received her law degree at Regent University, the Virginia Beach, Va. school founded by Yale Law School graduate Pat Robertson.

Such credentials led one ATL commenter to wonder:

What I want to know is how a 1999 graduate of the purported “law school” at a purported “university” founded by Pat Robertson has acquired the title of “Senior Counsel” to this nation’s Attorney General.

More on Monica, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Do You Know Monica Goodling?”

* Officers face sanctions in Pat Tillman death in Afghanistan. [CNN; Sportsline]
* Australian at Gitmo pleads guilty to terror charges. [
New York Times]
* Is Coke suing itself… for taste infringement? [Law.com]
* DOJ’s Monica Goodling to plead the 5th. [CNN]
* Border protection agent gets jail time for taking bribes. [MSNBC]

Monica Goodling 2 Alberto Gonzales Above the Law blog.JPG(No, not THAT Monica — it’s a bit late for that, dontcha think?)
Breaking news from Bloomberg:

Monica Goodling, a counsel to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales who helped coordinate the dismissals of eight U.S. attorneys, will invoke her constitutional right not to answer Senate questions about the firings, her lawyer said.

Goodling, one of four Justice Department officials the agency said could be interviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, will invoke her Fifth Amendment privilege not to answer the panel’s questions, John M. Dowd, her lawyer, said in a statement. Dowd said the committee had requested her testimony under oath.

The Associated Press also has a story, available here.
We’re going to play unfrozen caveman legal commentator, and ask: Based on what we currently know about the U.S. Attorney firings, how could Goodling’s testimony expose her to criminal liability, to place her in a position to invoke the Fifth Amendment? What are we missing here?
Here’s what her lawyer, John Dowd, has to say about the matter. From the AP:

The potential for taking the blame for the department’s bungled response “is very real,” Dowd said. “One need look no further than the recent circumstances and proceedings involving Lewis Libby,” he said, a reference to the recent conviction of Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff in the CIA leak case.

The lesson we took away from the Libby case was: “Don’t lie under oath.”
So doesn’t Dowd’s argument prove too much? What does Goodling have to worry about as long as she testifies truthfully?
P.S. We have nothing against the DOJ or the White House under the current Administration. To paraphrase the classic defense against charges of racism, “Some of our best friends are [Bushies]!!!”
We’re just confused, that’s all. Clearly there were some screw-ups here. But is anyone (aside from Daily Kos types) seriously arguing that the underlying conduct was criminal?
Gonzales Aide Won’t Answer Questions About Prosecutor Firings [Bloomberg]
Gonzales Aide to Invoke Fifth Amendment [Associated Press]

Alberto Gonzales 2 Attorney General Alberto R Gonzales Above the Law blog.JPG* Feel like putting down a couple hundred on Barack Obama or John Edwards? [Slate]
* Sen. Hagel uses the “i” word. [MSNBC]
* “New U.S. attorneys seem to have partisan records.” [McClatchy via Election Law Blog]
* AG Gonzales feeling more heat from GOP Senators. [How Appealing (linkwrap)]
* Does DVR violate copyright laws? [Law.com]

Carol Lam 3 Carol C Lam Southern District of California San Diego Yale College Stanford Law School.JPGDebra Yang Debra Wong Yang Above the Law blog.jpgHere are three fun facts:

1. Until her controversial ouster, Carol Lam (far right) was the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California (San Diego).

2. Until she was tempted away from government service by a $1.5 million offer from Gibson Dunn, Debra Wong Yang (near right) was the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California (Los Angeles).

3. As far as we know, Eumi Choi continues to serve as First Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California (San Francisco).

Coincidence? We have to ask:

What is up with Asian-American women and leadership positions in California U.S. Attorney offices?

Their presence in these posts would seem like a great leap forward for diversity — but it’s causing problems. Just ask poor Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
Here’s what Senator Schumer wrote in a recent letter to President Bush:

In an email to the White House, [former Alberto Gonzales aide Kyle] Sampson refers to a “problem” with Carol Lam.

What was this “problem” and was Lam’s firing motivated by her investigation into former Congressmen Randy Cunningham and Representative Jerry Lewis?…

Mr. Sampson’s email was sent the same day [May 11, 2006] that the Los Angeles Times had broken the news that Ms. Lam’s investigation of former Congressman Randy Cunningham (R-CA) had expanded to include Representative Jerry Lewis (R-CA).

OOPS. Carol Lam wasn’t investigating Jerry Lewis. If you go to the article in question, you’ll see that the Lewis investigation was being conducted by the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles — then headed by Debra Yang.
When contacted for comment, Senator Schumer stated: “The notion that I have bias against Asians is ludicrous. My favorite restaurant in D.C. is Hunan Dynasty. And I know all of the waitresses there by name!”
Update: In response to these comments, we must clarify: the Schumer quote is a joke.
Schumer’s Five Questions [TPMmuckraker]
Lewis Surfaces in Probe of Cunningham [Los Angeles Times via Truthout]
Carol Lam: Not Targeted Over the Jerry Lewis Investigation [Patterico's Pontifications]

United States Attorneys US Attorneys Above the Law blog.JPGThe scandal surrounding the firing of the eight U.S. Attorneys, while explosive and salacious, has presented us with some challenges. It’s a fast-moving story, and the information just keeps flooding in.
And because it’s such a huge story, the MSM has been covering it like crazy. We asked ourselves: What’s left for ATL to do?
Answer: Sponsor a U.S. Attorneys hotties contest!
Now that our Law Librarian Hotties contest is over, we must find a new group of legal professional hotties to rank. In light of all the public attention recently focused upon United States Attorneys, they’re an excellent subject for our next hotness competition.
Patrick J Fitzgerald 2 Patrick Fitzgerald Pat Fitzgerald Above the Law blog.JPGThere are many reasons to focus on chief federal prosecutors for a hotties contest. They’re clearly public figures, so they don’t present the same privacy concerns as so-called “civilians.” Their photographs are easy to find, because they’re always appearing before media outlets.
And, most importantly, some of them are pretty darn hot. For example, the hunky Patrick Fitzgerald (N.D. Ill.) helped make the Plamegate scandal worth following (with an assist from the scorchingly hot Valerie Plame herself). The apolitical zeal with which Pat Fitzgerald pursued the Scooty Libby prosecution was modern manliness at its best.
Carol Lam 2 Carol C Lam Southern District of California San Diego Yale College Stanford Law School.JPGThere are some fine offerings on the distaff side, too. The elegant Carol Lam (S.D. Cal.), according to her critics, was easy on immigration enforcement. But she’s pretty easy on the eyes, too!
(We could say more about Carol Lam’s hotness, but we won’t, ’cause she kinda looks like our aunt.)
We are now accepting your nominations of hot United States Attorneys. If you’d like to submit an attractive U.S Attorney for consideration, please review the rules and nomination guidelines, which appear after the jump. Thanks!

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Above the Law Hotties: U.S. Attorneys!”

alberto gonzales alberto r gonzales attorney general.JPGThe story is moving very quickly, and there’s so much to keep track of. And we’re going to be away from our computer, attending the AEF dinner, when President Bush holds his press conference at 5:45 PM today.
So here’s an open thread to discuss the controversy over the U.S. Attorney firings. Please share your thoughts on the recently released emails, the chances of Alberto Gonzales keeping his job, and other related matters, in the comments to this post. Thanks.
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of the U.S. Attorneys controversy (scroll down)

Patrick J Fitzgerald Patrick Fitzgerald Pat Fitzgerald Above the Law blog.jpgYeah, we know: Attorney General Alberto Gonzales remains in office.* But his days are looking numbered. He’s received the kiss of death — a presidential expression of “confidence” — and even some Republicans are calling for his resignation.
So we have to ask:

If Alberto Gonzales steps (or gets pushed) aside, who should take his place as Attorney General?

We’re rooting for Shanetta Cutlar. But if she doesn’t get tapped, Andrew Cohen floats this interesting idea.
Right now, Patrick Fitzgerald is most well-known for his (successful) work on the Scooter Libby case. This may preclude his selection as AG, given the political hot potato that it turned into — and the embarrassment it caused for the Bush Administration.
But let’s not forget that, setting aside the Libby case, Fitzgerald has the background that one would normally seek in an Attorney General. He’s the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois (Chicago), one of the nation’s most prestigious prosecutor’s offices, and he has some serious additional credentials.
After graduating from one of our nation’s finest high schools (shameless plug for our alma mater), Pat Fitzgerald went on to Amherst College and Harvard Law School. Before taking over as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District, he was a line prosecutor in the legendary Southern District of New York. As an AUSA in the SDNY, he worked on some major prosecutions, including the trials of Omar Abdel Rahman and Ramzi Yousef. He has been praised for his work as U.S. Attorney in Chicago.
Thoughts? Nominating Fitzgerald as AG might be kinda crazy, but kinda brilliant. It would change the story line big time, in a way that the White House might welcome.
(Some other random names we’ve heard as possible AG candidates: former Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey; SEC Chairman Christopher Cox; and Judge Laurence H. Silberman, of the D.C. Circuit.)
* It’s a rainy Friday afternoon, not much is going on, and people aren’t paying attention to the news. If you’d like to step down, Mr. Attorney General, there are still several hours of prime resignation time available to you.
The Case for Attorney General Patrick Fitzgerald [Washington Post / Bench Conference]

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