Gonzales Responds to Report: I “Look Forward to Moving on to New Challenges”

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The fact that a prosecutor has been named to continue the investigation into the firing of nine U.S. attorneys doesn’t seem to faze former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who issued a statement yesterday expressing relief that the process was over.

“My family and I are glad to have the investigation of my conduct in this matter behind us, and we look forward to moving on to new challenges,” Gonzales said in a statement yesterday.

But the investigation, led by the Department of Justice’s Inspector General and the Office of Professional Responsibility might be far from “behind” Gonzales. Yesterday, Attorney General Michael Mukasey named Nora Dannehy, a Connecticut interim U.S. attorney, as a prosecutor in the firings. At the IG report’s behest, Dannehy will continue the investigation and work of the OIG and OPR offices, but with the power to compel testimony.

Nevertheless, Gonzales and his attorney, George J. Terwilliger III seem to be operating in a cloud of denial.

The investigation “is clearly over as to him,” Terwilliger is quoted as saying in the New York Times. “The inspector general after 18 months of investigation has basically concluded that the facts and circumstances regarding Judge Gonzales’s activity do not include any unlawful conduct.”