Ex-Civil Rights Official's Testimony Under Review
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
A grand jury is examining possible discrepancies in testimony last year by former Justice Department civil rights division chief Bradley J. Schlozman, people familiar with the investigation said yesterday.
Federal prosecutors in the District recently began to issue subpoenas after receiving a referral from the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General and its Office of Professional Responsibility, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the probe.
The subpoenas give prosecutors the power to compel testimony from former Justice attorneys, many of whom had refused to speak with investigators. The internal watchdogs have been conducting a year-long probe into allegations of political meddling in employment and enforcement decisions at Justice.
Schlozman resigned last August under fire for Senate testimony in which he acknowledged that he bragged about recruiting people who shared his conservative views for the civil rights unit. He also served as interim U.S. attorney in Kansas City, Mo., after Justice supervisors urged the previous prosecutor to resign.
In both areas, Schlozman drew complaints from career lawyers. The civil rights division has been the focus of employment discrimination lawsuits and congressional hearings. Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee asked Schlozman last year about the basis for bringing a voter registration case against a liberal group days before a local election. Schlozman later filed written amendments to his testimony after his account was challenged by a career official.
Legal experts cautioned that perjury cases are among the most challenging for prosecutors to build.
William H. Jordan, a lawyer working for Schlozman, declined to comment. The referral was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.