House panel wants Gonzales to testify

May 31, 2006 at 12:23 PM

WASHINGTON, May 31 (UPI) -- U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales may be asked to testify before a House panel about the search of the office of U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, D-La.

Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr., R-Wis., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, also plans to invite FBI Director Robert Mueller to the panel, reports The Hill.

The report said House General Counsel Geraldine Gennet sent a letter to the Justice Department for a meeting next week to work out procedures for federal investigators to search congressional offices.

Sensenbrenner said he is concerned about the constitutionality of such searches of lawmakers. The issue is whether federal prosecutors, who are investigating bribery allegations against Jefferson, violated the speech or debate clauses of the U.S. Constitution by seizing protected documents, says the report.

Jefferson has denied any wrongdoing and has filed a lawsuit demanding the return of all the documents taken from his Capitol Hill office. The Justice Department has asked for a denial of the suit, saying the search was constitutional.

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