Truth, Justice, or the Obama Way
The Justice Department is forced to investigate itself.
Sep 27, 2010, Vol. 16, No. 02 • By JENNIFER RUBIN
To put it bluntly, Adams was warning the Department that Perez had already testified inaccurately before Congress and that allowing him to do so again would be an intentional attempt to mislead the civil rights commission.
Shortly thereafter Adams received a call from the Voting Section head, Chris Herren. Herren said he understood Adams wanted to meet with Perez. Adams said he had not asked for a meeting. Herren repeated, “You said you wanted to meet with Perez.” Adams reiterated that he had not. It became obvious, however, that Perez wanted to meet with him.
Hunt arranged a meeting on Tuesday, May 12, three days before Perez was to testify before the civil rights commission. Adams, Popper, Perez, Hunt, and two other department attorneys met in the 5th floor conference room in the Main Justice Department building. Coates joined them by speaker phone.
Coates, Popper, and Adams spoke for approximately 45 minutes. Coates informed Perez that the case had been dismissed because of hostility to equal enforcement of the civil rights laws. Popper went next, explaining how solid the case was. He became animated and lashed out at Perez for testifying that the attorneys had violated Rule 11—that is, committed an ethical violation. Adams spoke last, making the case that the 14th Amendment required equal enforcement of the civil rights laws and that it was dangerous for the department and the country to go down the road of unequal enforcement of the law.
During the meeting Perez said nothing. Was he taking the information to heart so he could investigate the serious allegations or simply, like an attorney in an explosive case, taking the deposition of the most powerful witnesses to see how effective they were and what damage they could do?
The answer became clear that Friday when Perez testified before the civil rights commission. He reiterated his view that the case was legally and factually deficient. Perhaps wary of Popper’s reaction, he avoided restating that the trial team had acted contrary to Rule 11.
Perez then testified under oath that the department had no attorneys opposed to the equal enforcement of the voting rights law. “We don’t have people that are of that ilk, sir,” he said in response to the questioning of commissioner Todd Gaziano. This was a blatant misstatement, as Coates and Adams had told him three days before. There was also this exchange:
But Perez conducted no investigation after being briefed by not one, but three attorneys.
Gaziano told me, “Perez’s refusal to give me a straight answer to many of my questions suggested he might be trying to hide something. If there is evidence that he knew of statements or actions in his division demonstrating hostility to the race-neutral enforcement of the civil rights laws before he testified, that would be very troubling. If so, his testimony would be misleading at best, instead of simply uninformed.”
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