Sunday, April 01, 2007

Goodling Battling

DOJ Official Brings Storm by Taking the Fifth in Gonzales Flap
by T.R. Goldman and Emma Schwartz
Legal Times c/o Law.com via TPM

"I don't know what [Monica Goodling] thinks she's getting out of it" ... "She's certainly not doing [Attorney General Alberto] Gonzales any good, if that's her intention. Right now, Gonzales is on the run, and her claiming the Fifth makes it look like the committee's onto something."

In one sense, taking the Fifth is simply a conservative legal strategy, one that trades the inevitable media firestorm and likely job dismissal for a real chance of avoiding prosecution.

"Its value is grossly underestimated by nonlawyers," says Michele Roberts, a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, the same firm where Goodling's attorneys, John Dowd and Jeffrey King, work. (She says she has not discussed the case with them.) "There's a beauty in knowing 'I can't be prosecuted for something I didn't say'; there's some solace knowing 'they aren't going to hang me up to dry based on something I said that they thought was false.'"

For someone like Goodling, criminal defense attorneys say, potential charges could include perjury, making false statements to Congress, or even aiding and abetting the preparation of false testimony -- something her lawyers say a senior Justice official has put into play by alleging that Goodling "did not inform him of certain pertinent facts" before making his report to the Senate.

There's also a whole category of obstruction of justice charges, if, for example, a U.S. Attorney was removed just as he was preparing a public-corruption indictment.

And, notes defense attorney Jensen Barber, there's a bit of the unknown: "God knows what a prosecutor could think up. You could clearly have some sort of fraud."

1 comment:

the geebus said...

I have a feeling Goodling might turn out to be at the center of all this.