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WashTimes: DOJ has Conflicts of Interest on Detainees

4:02 PM, Nov 20, 2009 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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Sen. Chuck Grassley asked Attorney General Eric Holder in a hearing Wednesday for a list of the employees at Dept. of Justice who might have to recuse themselves due to conflicts of interest over detainees. Some DOJ employees and their former firms represented and defended detainees in the past, raising questions about how DOJ might deal with their cases in the future.

Holder was cagey, promising only to "consider the request" despite Grassley's repeated requests.

Today, the Washington Times reveals some of the recusals already made:

The Obama Justice Department is having problems prosecuting terrorist cases because top department attorneys have conflicts of interest.

According to documents obtained exclusively by The Washington Times, Associate Attorney General Thomas J. Perrelli, No. 3 official in the Justice Department, had to recuse himself on at least 13 active detainee cases and at least 26 cases listed as either closed or mooted...

Mr. Perrelli's recusals presumably stem from the work that either he or his former firm, Jenner & Block LLP, did on behalf of detainees while Mr. Perrelli served on the firm's management committee and on its appellate and Supreme Court practice groups. And Mr. Perrelli is just one official; a number of other Justice Department officials apparently did private-sector work on detainee cases.

DOJ has not provided a list to Grassley yet, but the list of Perelli's recusals was circulated at the department before being acquired by the Times.