U.S. Attorneys

New Facts Call Into Question DOJ Investigations Past and Present

By Andrew Kreig posted by Michael Collins


Four days before Connecticut's Nora Dannehy was appointed to investigate the Bush administration's U.S. attorney firing scandal, a team of lawyers she led was found to have illegally suppressed evidence in a major political corruption case.

This previously unreported fact from Dannehy's past calls into question her entire national investigation. The revelation similarly compromises the pending investigation by her Connecticut colleague, John Durham, who since 2008 has been the nation's special prosecutor for DOJ and CIA decision-making involving torture.

Here's the story, which the Justice Integrity Project I lead just broke in Nieman Watchdog:

In September 2008, the Bush Justice Department appointed Connecticut career federal prosecutor Nora Dannehy to investigate allegations that Bush officials in 2006 illegally fired nine U.S. attorneys who wouldn't politicize official corruption investigations.

But just four days before her appointment, a federal appeals court had ruled that a team of prosecutors led by Dannehy illegally suppressed evidence in a major political corruption case in Connecticut. The prosecutors' misconduct was so serious that the court vacated seven of the eight convictions in the case.

Criminal Coverup: DoJ Report Implicates White House Involvement In Prosecutor Purge

A recent report from the Department of Justice's own "ethics police"1 has begun to generate a lot of buzz about the involvement of the White House in the spate of U.S. Attorney firings that happened two years ago:

Rove and U.S. Attorney Firings Rise Again

Bob Secter and Jeff Coen/Chicago Tribune: Feds: Witness says Rezko tried to oust Fitzgerald
At the trial of Antoin "Tony" Rezko, prosecutors revealed Wednesday that former Rezko confidant Ali Ata was prepared to testify that Rezko told him in November 2004 of a plan to pull strings with then- White House political director Karl Rove and have Fitzgerald fired.

Prosecutors also sought to add the testimony of another admitted schemer suggesting that two of the state's most powerful Republican operatives wanted to take the heat off Rezko by dumping the hard-charging prosecutor.

Rove's response to the new allegations via his attorney was the familiar standard "does not recall."