An open letter to the Attorney GeneralPublished 9:10pm Wednesday, February 8, 2012
The following is an edited letter that I sent to U. S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
Dear Attorney General Holder:
I am deeply concerned. Many others are deeply concerned. We are concerned about the integrity of the Integrity Section of the U.S. Justice Department. Please consider our concerns carefully.
The conduct of the U. S. Justice Department and others working with it has corrupted the very essence of integrity in the Alabama case of U.S. v. McGregor, et al.
This happened in various and sundry ways. I will detail a few.
First, the U.S. Department of Justice was deeply involved in preventing a piece of legislation involving bingo from passing the Alabama Legislature. When the bill was pending before the Senate, FBI agents visited Senator Bobby Denton and others who were undecided on the bingo bill. The perception was that the FBI agents intended to discourage them from voting in favor of the legislation. Then immediately after the Alabama Senate passed the bingo bill and was on its way to the House of Representatives for consideration, your lawyers and others convened a meeting of legislative leaders to inform them that there was an ongoing investigation of bingo and the Alabama Legislature.
Second, the Justice Department unsealed indictments and arrested the defendants in this case in early October 2010, less than one month before the Nov. 2, 2010 General Election for all statewide Constitutional offices and all 140 seats in the Alabama Legislature and more. The government also went out of its way to ensure very public arrests, with all the defendants hand cuffed and leg shackled. It was designed to have the maximum impact on the 2010 election outcomes, and it did.
Again, it is politics pure and simple. Where is the integrity in the Integrity Section of the U.S. Justice Department?
Third, lawyers from your department withheld documents that the Court had directed them to provide to defendants. This conduct became so outrageous the Court threatened to discipline the lawyers from the Integrity Section of the U. S. Justice Department.
Where is the integrity in the Integrity Section of the U. S. Justice Department?
Fourth, even after all the Court’s admonishments, it was recently discovered that lawyers from the Integrity Section of the U. S. Justice Department had withheld other documents. This discovery came after the first trial concluded with defeat for the Justice Department. Where is the integrity in the Integrity Section of the U.S. Justice Department?
Fifth, the Court has taken the Justice Department’s key witnesses to task for various and sundry prejudices. These were key witnesses in the government’s case in the first trial. Now the Justice Department will not use them in the retrial. This is another example of gross overreach by the Justice Department. Where is the integrity in the Integrity Section of the U.S. Justice Department?
Sixth, it appears that the U.S. Justice Department only investigated those on one side of the issue rather than pursuing all those who may have committed crimes. It appears that the Justice Department was in fact cooperating with some to stop legislation from passing. This was blatantly political. Where is the integrity in the Integrity Section of the U.S. Justice Department?
Seventh, two different lead attorneys from the Integrity Section have had to withdraw from prosecuting this case with clouds of improprieties hanging over them for improper actions. It seems like the Justice Department is determined to get a conviction at all cost even if it means breaking the law.
Eighth, even after all these violations, the case was so weak that a jury freed two, convicted none, found against the Government on 91 counts and was apparently 8-4 in favor of finding against the Government on the remaining 33 counts. Where is the integrity in the Integrity Section of the U.S. Justice Department?
Ninth, now it appears that local U.S. attorneys will not touch the case with a ten-foot pole. I have never heard of this happening. This ought to tell you something.
Where is the integrity in the Integrity Section of the U.S. Justice Department? Attorney General Holder, you must act with integrity and handle this mushrooming mess firmly. Otherwise, too many will be asking not just where is the integrity in the Integrity Section but where is the justice in the U.S. Justice Department.
Early in your tenure as U. S. Attorney General, you dismissed a case against U. S. Senator Ted Stevens as a result of misconduct on the part of Justice Department lawyers.
This case cries out for similar action. You must rise to the occasion. I want you to succeed. I want this Administration to succeed. However, you can truly succeed only with justice.