Prosecutor Carol Lam Fired by “the Very Highest Levels of the Government”

Brian Zick

Paul Kiel at TPM Muckraker reports that Carol Lam has supplied written answers to members of Congress in response to questions about her termination, and he quotes a portion: Following the call from Michael Battle informing me I was to resign effective January 21, 2007, I called DAG McNulty to inquire why I was being asked to resign. He responded that he wanted some time to think about how to answer that question because he didn’t want to give me an answer “that would lead” me down the wrong route. He added that he knew I had personally taken on a long trial and he had great respect for me. Mr. McNulty never responded to my question. After a follow-up call with Mike Battle a few days later, I requested additional time to ensure and orderly transition in the office, especially regarding pending investigations and several significant cases that were set to begin trial in the next few months. On January 5, 2007, I received a call from Michael Elston informing me that my request for more time base on case-related considerations was “not being received positively,” and that I should “stop thinking in terms of the cases in the office.” He insisted that I had to depart in a matter of weeks, not months, and that these instructions were “coming from the very highest levels of the government.” In this and subsequent calls, Mike Elston told me that (1) he ‘suspected” and “had a feeling” that the interim U.S. Attorney who would succeed me would not be someone from within my office, but rather would be someone who was a DOJ employee not currently working in my office, (2) there would be “no overlap” between my departure and the start date of the interim U.S. Attorney, and (3) the person picked to serve as interim U.S. Attorney would not have to be vetted by the committee process used in California for the selection of U.S. Attorneys.

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