Alberto Gonzales

An Early List of Prosecutor Successors

Documents released yesterday appear to contradict statements by Justice Department officials that a group of potential replacements had not been identified before U.S. attorneys were fired.

Former chief of staff D. Kyle Sampson named five potential replacements months before the firings, the Washington Post reports. But he told the Senate Judiciary Committee he did not have in mind any replacements for seven of the fired U.S. attorneys.

An official with the conservative Federalist Society also forwarded the name of a potential replacement more than a year before the firings, according to the New York Times. Leonard A. Leo, executive vice president of the group, sent a March 2005 e-mail recommending a replacement for the U.S. attorney in San Diego, who was not informed she was being fired until December 2006.

A Justice Department spokesman told the Post the early names floated by Sampson were only tentative suggestions. Leo told the Times he doesn’t remember the e-mail, but it was likely in response to a request for a recommendation.

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