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Judiciary Hearing on Selective Prosecution

October 23, 2007

The Judiciary Subcommittees on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security and Commercial and Administrative Law are currently holding a joint hearing, “Allegations of Selective Prosecution: The Erosion of Public Confidence in Our Federal Justice System.” Witness include Richard Thornburgh of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis LLP in Washington, DC; Donald C. Shields Ph.D. of the University of Missouri – St. Louis; and G. Douglas Jones Esq. of Whatley, Drake, and Kallas in Birmingham, AL.

Subcommittee Chairman Bobby Scott gives opening remarks:

Subcommittee Chairman Scott: “In one study we'll hear today shows that of 375 investigations of political candidates or office-holders initiated under the Bush administration's Department of Justice, 80% have been against Democrats. And this disparity in the Department's focus calls objectivity into question.”

Richard Thornburgh, the attorney general for the final year of George H. W. Bush’s presidency, testifies about his experience of the politicization of the Justice Department in representing Dr. Cyril Wecht, a prominent Pennsylvania Democrat and former coroner of Allegheny County (read his full testimony):

Thornburgh: “It should also be noted that of these three high profile, very public, Democratic prosecutions, one resulted in a misdemeanor macing plea; one resulted in no plea and an alternative resolution; and Dr. Wecht’s case remains pending. All three Democrats were frontpage stories during the run-up to the 2006 election. The damage was done by widespread media coverage with little apparent concern as to whether justice was meted out. During this same period not one Republican officeholder was investigated and/or prosecuted by Ms. Buchanan’s office. Not one. Although a whistleblower in Republican Congressman Tim Murphy’s office accused the Congressman of using paid staff members in his election campaign, no investigation was conducted that we are aware of.”

Rep. Artur Davis (AL-07) interjects to refute a Republican’s allegations of perjury against Jill Simpson, who has cited the reported involvement of Karl Rove in key Alabama investigations:

Rep. Davis: “The very able ranking member is a good friend of mine, Mr. Forbes, I was surprised by an assertion that he made during his opening statement regarding Jill Simpson, one of the witnesses in the Seligman case. My friend, Mr. Forbes, at one point suggested that Ms. Simpson's testimony had been 'conclusively debunked,' as he put it and he amazed me by somehow suggesting that the committee should refer her for prosecution. One point that I hope my friend from Virginia will take note of, and I will ask unanimous consent to introduce Exhibit 4 to the Simpson Deposition into the record. Exhibit 4 to the Simpson Deposition is a list of wireless phone calls made from her phone. If you examine the phone lists, on November 18, 2002, the date that she contends that she made a phone call to Rob Reilly and others, there is a number listed: (205) 870-9866, 11/18, duration for 11 minutes. All 3 affidavits submitted by Mr. Butts, Mr. Limpke and Mr. Reilly deny that there was a conference call that occurred on November 18. I ask to also introduce into the record a 'search for law firms in Alabama' on, enter the law firm name “Reilly-Jackson” the following phone number comes up: (205) 870-9866. The exact same phone number that surfaces in Exhibit 4. Mr. Forbes, in light of that revelation that these three affidavits are contradicted by the phone record, I ask you to withdrawal your statement, sir, regarding possible perjury by Ms. Simpson.”