George J. Terwilliger III replies to my e-mail. Sort of.

In my e-mail to George J. Terwilliger III, I offered Mr. Gonzales and Mr. Terwilliger the opportunity to respond to my allegations that Mr. Gonzales has engaged in conduct which brings into question his fitness to practice law. Mr. Terwilliger has taken the opportunity to reply to my post:*

WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — “The report confirms that Judge Gonzales provided Congress with a truthful account of his knowledge of and involvement in the dismissal of US attorneys.

“The report makes clear that Judge Gonzales engaged in no wrongful or improper conduct while recognizing, as he has acknowledged many times, that the process for evaluating US attorney performance in this instance was flawed,” Terwilliger said.

“In our submission to the Department on this matter, we noted that the OIG is without jurisdiction to second guess presidential personnel decisions. Unfortunately, the report spends hundreds of pages doing just that, but nonetheless reports no evidence of an improper motivation or action in removing these US attorneys. It seems rather odd, then, that rather than bring the investigation to a close, the Department would escalate the matter to the attention of a prosecutor when its own policies require preliminary evidence of a criminal violation before initiating a criminal investigation.”

“My family and I are glad to have the investigation of my conduct in this matter behind us and we look forward to moving on to new challenges,” Judge Gonzales said.

Related links:

SOURCE George J. Terwilliger, III

Take a few moments to read Mr. Terwilliger’s submission to the Department. This is a good example of how to defend a client against allegations of illegal conduct when that client is, in fact, demonstrably guilty of those allegations. After 41 pages of smoke, mirrors and legal sleight of hand in his submission to the Department, Mr. Terwilliger is only able to reach these conclusions:

The Department’s flawed response to public criticism of the removal of certain U.S. Attorneys tended to obscure the unassailable conclusion that all U.S. Attorneys serve at the pleasure of the President and, accordingly, may be removed by the President for any reason, or no reason at all. Because this controversy has offered ample evidence of the efficacy of the available political checks on U.S. Attorney removals perceived to be improper, and because there is no evidence of “improper reasons” for any of the recommended removals, there is no basis to conclude that it is necessary to alter the current balance of political power whereby U.S. Attorneys are nominated by the President, confirmed with the advice and consent of the Senate, and subject to removal by the President at any time.

The established balance of political power renders immaterial the underlying reasons for the removal of individual U.S. Attorneys, absent credible evidence of removal to improperly influence the conduct of a case. Instead, the OIG and OPR review could, we respectfully submit, provide the most benefit to the Department by examining the manner in which the Department responded to public criticism of the firings, specifically: (1) the manner in which information was shared within the Department; (2) the protocols for the drafting and submitting of Department statements to members of Congress, congressional committees, and the media; and (3) the manner in which senior Department officials were prepared for sworn testimony. Failures in all of these areas severely handicapped the Department’s ability to rebut allegations of politicization, and besmirched not only the reputations of political employees, but also the reputations of the many extraordinary career employees that continue to be the mainstay of the Department’s effectiveness in discharging the Department’s considerable responsibilities to the American people.

Most importantly, the OIG and OPR review provides an opportunity to reassure Congress and the public that there is no evidence that the U.S. Attorneys in question were removed in order to improperly allow partisan political considerations to compromise the independence of U.S. Attorneys in the execution of their responsibility to secure the fair administration of justice on matters within their purview.

(Footnotes omitted.)

According to Mr. Terwilliger, there is no evidence that Mr. Gonzales committed any improper act. Therefore, the OPR and OIG investigations should have, “examin[ed] the manner in which the Department responded to public criticism of the firings” which “could, [h]e respectfully submit, provide the most benefit to the Department.” Mr. Terwilliger’s argument distills down to this: “There’s nothing to see here. Go review internal DoJ office procedures instead. Then you can publicly announce that there’s nothing to see here.”

The link to that Mr. Terwilliger provides in his statement is also worth reading. In addition to his most recent statement, the What’s New page contains numerous other posts and statements. Interestingly, the media contact for is Robert H. Bork, Jr. You can also make a donation to Mr. Gonzales’ legal defense here – but please don’t.

*Well, sort of. Mr. Terwilliger’s response is via a link that is added to my post by a WordPress feature that automatically generates and embeds links that are ‘possibly related’ to the original post.

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