Friday, January 9, 2009

Holder Bombshells

The L.A. Times is reporting on "details" not "publicly known until now" regarding Eric Holder Jr's involvement in the pardon of the FALN terrorists. The Times reports Holder "repeatedly pushed some of his subordinates" to "drop their opposition" to clemency for the "violent" Puerto Rican nationalist organizations. "New interviews" and "an examination of previously undisclosed documents" indicate Holder instructed his staff at Justice's Office of the Pardon Attorney "to effectively replace the department's original report recommending against any commutations, which had been sent to the White House in 1996, with one that favored clemency for at least half the prisoners." When the U.S. Pardon Attorney, Roger Adams, resisted, Holder's chief of staff instructed him to draft a neutral "options memo" instead.

The Times' article notes Holder was called to testify on the case by the Senate Judiciary Committee but invoked "Clinton's claim of executive privilege" and "declined to say whether the Justice Department had changed its position on the commutations" saying simply that there were "subsequent communications with the White House in the months after that recommendation." Former U.S Pardon Attorney Margaret Love says:
"It certainly sounds to me that he wanted to at least undercut if not overrule my earlier [1996] negative recommendation. It appears that he effectively gave the White House permission to make the grants."
The Times also reports Love was not "aware of Holder's support for commutation before or after he fired her in 1997." Adams has not spoken publicly about the case, but "believes the FALN crimes were so serious" and "is concerned that there had been misrepresentation of his role in the clemency." In mid-1998, he sent a draft report recommending against clemency, but Holder "did not send it to the White House and instructed him to revise it." See the great reporting by the L.A. Times here.

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