U.S. District Court Judge Reggie B. Walton ruled in favor of Judicial Watch to be compensated for their attorney’s fees because they were stonewalled by the Department of Justice in attempting to hide the DOJ’s involvement with how they abandoned their own voter intimidation lawsuit against the New Black Panther Party. This sounds like the “MO” now for the Obama DOJ doesn’t it? Nevertheless Judical Watch has been confident all along that they would prevail in the case.
The main quote from Judge Walton’s ruling is as follows:
The documents reveal that political appointees within DOJ were conferring about the status and resolution of the New Black Panther Party case in the days preceding the DOJ’s dismissal of claims in that case, which would appear to contradict Assistant Attorney General Perez’s testimony that political leadership was not involved in that decision. Surely the public has an interest in documents that cast doubt on the accuracy of government officials’ representations regarding the possible politicization of agency decision-making.
In sum, the Court concludes that three of the four fee entitlement factors weigh in favor of awarding fees to Judicial Watch. Therefore, Judicial Watch is both eligible and entitled to fees and costs, and the Court must now consider the reasonableness of Judicial Watch’s requested award.
Tom Fitton wrote “in short, this ruling is further confirmation that political appointees at the DOJ did interfere in the Black Panther case. Assistant AG Perez’s testimony was false. And the American people have a right to documents related to the scandal. That’s pretty much a clear-cut victory.
Hans von Spakovsky, now with the Heritage Foundation, but writing for PJMedia, wrote,
But what is most disturbing about this court order is that it strongly suggests that Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez essentially lied in sworn testimony. At a hearing before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on May 14, 2010, Perez was asked by Commissioner Peter Kirsanow whether “any political leadership [was] involved in the decision not to pursue this particular case.” Perez’s answer, on page 79 of the transcript of that hearing, is an uncategorical “No.” When the statements of Perez are compared to the documents that Judicial Watch forced DOJ to release in the FOIA lawsuit, it is clear Judge Walton was polite when he said they are contradictory and “cast doubt on the accuracy” of Perez’s account.
A less diplomatic judge might have said that Perez testified falsely in his hearing testimony before the Commission on Civil Rights. In other words, he may have committed perjury if he knew his statements were false when uttered.
He then pointed out what took place as a result of Perez’s testimony,
The Commission on Civil Rights repeatedly asked Attorney General Holder to appoint a special counsel to investigate the handling of the NPBB case by the Department and the refusal of Perez to comply with lawful documents requests and subpoenas served on DOJ by the Commission. When will the attorney general do so, and when will he ask for an investigation of this possible perjury by Perez?
Where is the investigation by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) of whether Perez violated his ethical and professional obligations as a DOJ attorney? Will the DOJ inspector general open an investigation of the possible violation by Perez of 18 U.S.C. §1621, which outlaws presenting false statements under oath in official federal proceedings? Or will they all respectively yawn and ignore this?
Can anyone imagine a conservative appointee at the DOJ being cited in a federal court decision for having apparently testified falsely under oath and what would ensue from that? There would be 24/7 news headlines and cries, kicks and screams from Democrats for an investigation and what are we hearing? Crickets.
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