The House Judiciary subcommittee on crime yesterday subpoenaed documents from the Justice Department that the subcommittee said it needs in its investigation of Justice's prosecution of a E. F. Hutton's multibillion-dollar check-kiting scheme.
The subcommittee, chaired by Rep. William J. Hughes (D-N.J), is seeking an array of material ranging from records of some of Hutton's bank accounts to correspondence between Justice Department prosecutors and the U.S. Postal Service investigators who participated in the investigation of Hutton.
Hutton pleaded guilty to 2,000 counts fraud last May, paying a $2 million fine and another $750,000 in costs. But no individuals were charged by the Justice Department. The subcommittee is studying why no individuals were required to plead guilty.
The subcommittee vote to issue subpoenas for Justice Department documents was made on a straight party-line vote, with six Democrats voting to serve the subpoenas and four Republicans voting against.
But Hughes reached an agreement with the Justice Department that will avoid issuance of subpoenas for Justice Department officials, including Albert Murray, the Pennsylvania assistant district attorney who headed the investigation of Hutton.
Justice Department officials said they would not let Murray testify by himself, but only as part of a panel in which Assistant Attorney General Stephen Trott was the lead witness. Subcommittee sources said that Hughes and Justice Department officials have reached a compromise in which Murray will testify with "counsel of his choice." The lawyer accompanying Murray will be Trott.
Hutton pleaded guilty to a check-fraud scheme in which it essentially tricked local banks into giving the company interest free loans by writing checks against deposits that had not yet cleared.