Prosecutor named in attorney firings case

Sept. 29, 2008 at 1:40 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey says he has appointed a special prosecutor to decide whether criminal charges should be brought against his predecessor.

Mukasey, in a statement released Monday, said he has appointed Nora Dannehy, acting U.S. attorney in Connecticut, to lead an investigation of former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and others for their roles in what some say were the politically motivated firings of nine U.S. attorneys in 2006.

The appointment came after the release of a scathing report by U.S. Justice Department's inspector general, in which the firings were examined.

"The report makes plain that, at a minimum, the process by which nine U.S. attorneys were removed in 2006 was haphazard, arbitrary and unprofessional, and that the way in which the Justice Department handled those removals and the resulting public controversy was profoundly lacking," Mukasey said.

Critics of Gonzales, who resigned last year, and of President George Bush say the prosecutors were dismissed because they were unwilling to carry out the White House's political agenda. Among the still-unanswered questions in the firings are the roles played by former presidential adviser Karl Rove and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers, The New York Times reported.

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