No charges planned in firings of U.S. attorneys

  • Wed Jul 21st, 2010 10:38pm
  • News

McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice announced Wednesday that “no criminal charges are warranted” against officials in the Bush administration for the firing of nine U.S. attorneys four years ago that led to allegations of improper political pressure and ultimately cost Alberto Gonzales his job as U.S. attorney general.

The decision, revealed in a letter to Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, brings to a close any consideration of criminal misconduct in what became one of the most searing political controversies in the Bush administration.

Ronald Welch, an assistant attorney general, said in his letter to Conyers that Nora Dannehy, an assistant prosecutor from Connecticut who led the investigation, was unable to unearth enough evidence to bring criminal charges in the matter, particularly as it involved the ouster of U.S. Attorney David Iglesias in New Mexico and whether “misleading statements” from Gonzales and other top Justice officials were tantamount to perjury.

Welch said there was “insufficient evidence to establish that persons knowingly made false statements or corruptly endeavored to obstruct justice.”