(Photo of hot lemons via wiccked.)
***UPDATE: This just in: the April 12th Gonzales appearance before the Senate Budget Committee has, indeed, been postponed because the DoJ is now refusing to turn over thousands of documents that needed to be reviewed prior to the hearing, setting things up for a subpoena showdown. Hold onto your hats, kids — it's going to get bumpy and that makes the April 17th hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee all the more intriguing. More from the WaPo.***
The upcoming hearings with Alberto Gonzales are going to be quite interesting, indeed. More information popping up about dissatisfaction in the ranks at USAtty offices across the country. This from Minneapolis, from reader "LD":
Sources told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that four top assistants to U.S. Attorney Rachel Paulose have stepped down from their positions.
According to our sources, First Assistant Attorney John Marti, Criminal Division Chief Jim Lakner, Civil Division Chief Erika Monzangue, and Administrative Officer Tim Anderson all left their posts Thursday.
Political insiders have criticized Paulose's rise to the U.S. Attorney's position as a political favor to the Bush Administration. She is just 34-years old and has worked directly for the same justice department officials who are currently under fire as part of the national U.S. Attorney's office scandal.
Sources said Paulose's style of management has already sent several other attorney's out the door from an office historically viewed as one of the more stable in the country.
…before getting the plum US Attorney spot, Paulose was a special assistant to Alberto Gonzales and apparently big buds with none other than 5th amendment invoker Monica Goodling. (emphasis mine)
WCCO is reporting (H/T to reader "WB" for the link) that the four have resigned only from their Administrative positions, but will remain as AUSAs in the office to prosecute cases. And they are also reporting this:
The Bush Administration did not want to see this happen and in an eleventh hour attempt to prevent it, sent a top justice official to Minneapolis Thursday to mediate the situation. The mediation failed….
Late Thursday afternoon the four top administrators in her office resigned their management positions in protest of what three well-placed sources say was "a highly dictatorial style" of managing.
And then, there is this from Milwaukee, via reader John Casper:
The three-judge panel in Chicago acted with unusual speed, ruling after oral arguments by Thompson's attorney and the U.S. attorney's office.
During 26 minutes of oral arguments, all three judges assailed the government's case, with Judge Diane Wood saying at one point that "the evidence is beyond thin."
During a news conference later Thursday, Doyle, a former state attorney general, said the three judges did an "extraordinary thing" by entering an order finding Thompson innocent and ordering her immediate release.
Decisions at that level of the federal judicial system usually take weeks or months after oral arguments.
Doyle said Republican officials spent "millions of dollars" running ads that turned Thompson into a symbol of corruption in his administration.
More here from MilwaukeeWorld blog, including links to the oral arguments. I have to say, I have rarely seen a decision of reversal of conviction from the bench — that this came from a three judge panel is even more astonishing. That is a huge smack at the USAtty's office, and a public rebuke at that, which makes me wonder what the opinion is going to look like when it comes out. (Hint: Ouch!)
Is anyone else seeing the festering hand of Rove here? And a fairly broad pattern of behavior? (If not, see here and here and here and especially here — and note the colors of both Wisconsin and Minnesota while you are looking at the map. Why yes, both states were in play in the last election, what a coincidence!)
Don't know about you all, but I have a feeling we will be hearing a lot more about all of this and more in the weeks ahead. Seems to me that the folks in Congress are going to need a whole lot more disinfectant before this mess has been cleaned up. I love the smell of oversight in the morning.