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A number of U.S. attorneys were scheduled to be axed, but survived when the White House intervened. How did these U.S. attorneys keep their jobs? One of these “Lazarus candidates” was the U.S. attorney in Jackson, Mississippi, Dunnica Ott Lampton.[pictured left]...Lampton was handling one case that was a matter of intense concern to Republican Party leaders in Mississippi as well as to Karl Rove in the White House: the Minor prosecution. That prosecution was used heavily by the Republicans in their efforts to portray their Democratic opponents as “corrupt.” [It] formed the core of a Republican advertising campaign, coordinated perfectly with Lampton’s prosecution efforts. It sent a message to campaign contributors in Mississippi that they donated to the Democrats at their great peril. The coffers of the state Democratic Party quickly went dry, helping to ensure a series of Republican election triumphs. But Lampton’s efforts failed in the courtroom. The trial resulted in the outright acquittal of one defendant and a hung jury on the balance. That was in August 2005, as Lampton’s name appeared on the list of U.S. attorneys to be fired. In December 2005, however, he secured a new indictment of Minor and the judges. A few weeks later, Lampton’s name was removed from the firing list. The convictions of Paul Minor and his codefendants are now on appeal, with a ruling past due. The appeals court judges hearing the case have requested an almost unprecedented second round of post-argument briefing–pressing the Justice Department to explain its decision to reindict following the initial acquittal and hung jury. They are focused on just the act that may have saved Lampton’s career as a U.S. attorney, and they are suggesting that it looks improper.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Rising from Political Death
When the Rove Republican Racket fired nine U.S. Attorneys in 2006, they turned the U.S. Department of Justice into a political arm of the Republican Party.
Now, Scott Horton of Harper's Magazine takes a look at some U.S. Attorneys that were to be fired but were saved all because of politics, not prosecutorial skills.