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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Did Holder Lie Under Oath About Black Panther Scandal?

Recently there was a court decision that validated what Judicial Watch has suggested all along – that political appointees at the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) were involved in the decision to spike the voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense (NBPP).

In his ruling awarding JW attorney’s fees for the DOJ’s stonewalling, federal Judge Reggie B. Walton stated that the evidence provided by Judicial Watch “would appear to contradict Assistant Attorney General Perez’s testimony that political leadership was not involved in the decision.”

I’d like to address another very important follow-up question: Did Attorney General Eric Holder also provide false testimony under oath regarding the Black Panther case?

Let’s step back to March 1, 2011, when Holder testified to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies. Here’s what he said about the decision to drop the lawsuit (see page 66 of the transcript – or 2:49:00 of the video):

The decisions made in the New Black Panther Party case were made by career attorneys in the department. And beyond that, you know, if we’re going to look at the record, let’s look at it in its totality.

Yes, let’s do that. Let’s look at the record “in its totality.”

Judge Walton’s court reviewed documents that included a series of e-mails between two political appointees: former Democratic election lawyer and current Deputy Associate Attorney General Sam Hirsch and Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli. Both DOJ officials were involved in detailed discussions regarding the NBPP decision. For example, in one April 30, 2009 e-mail from Hirsch to Perrelli, with the subject title “Fw: New Black Panther Party Update,” Hirsch writes:

Tom,

I need to discuss this with you tomorrow morning. I’ll send you another email on this shortly. If you want to discuss it this evening, please let me know which number to call and when.

These e-mails were put into further context by an updated Vaughn index obtained by Judicial Watch, describing NBPP documents that the Obama DOJ continues to withhold. These documents, which were attached to the DOJ’s Motion for Summary Judgment filing in the lawsuit, include a description of a May 13 e-mail chain that seems to suggest political appointee Sam Hirsch may have been orchestrating the NBPP decision.

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