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maddezmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 02:39 AM
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Justice official regrets e-mails (Elston)
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Justice official regrets e-mails
Rockfords Michael Elston stands by the attorneys dismissals.

By Katherine Hutt Scott


Elston, chief of staff to Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, said another Justice official asked his opinion about which prosecutors should be dismissed. After they were fired, Elston was assigned to coordinate with them about when they would leave their jobs.

House and Senate judiciary committees want to interview him about the controversial dismissals.

In an interview with Gannett News Service, Elston said he regretted a set of e-mails he exchanged with Acting Associate Attorney General Bill Mercer regarding one of the prosecutors who was later fired, Carol Lam of San Diego.


Elston said the White House gave final approval to a decision to fire the seven U.S. attorneys on Dec. 7.

My understanding is these were recommendations made (by the Justice Department) to the White House and they were approved, he said.

White House spokesman Alex Conant said Tuesday that the White House only signed off on a list generated by the Justice Department. At no time did anyone at the White House add or subtract to the Justice Departments internally generated list, he said.

Read more:

WP: Justice Official 'Horrified' Phone Call Was Seen as Threat (Elston)

By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 12, 2007; Page A03

Until last Tuesday, Michael J. Elston was the happily anonymous chief of staff to Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty.

But then a former U.S. attorney told Congress that Elston had warned him and other fired prosecutors to stay quiet or risk retaliation from the Justice Department.

The testimony from former U.S. attorney Bud Cummins of Little Rock was one of a string of damning accounts to emerge from the firings of eight federal prosecutors. The firings have prompted outrage in Congress and moves to limit the attorney general's power to appoint replacements.

Elston said in an interview that he is "horrified" by the accusation, portraying it as an unfortunate misunderstanding fueled by rising tensions over the firings.

"By no means did I have any message in mind," Elston said. "I think he misinterpreted what I was saying, and I'm very sorry that occurred."
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