We hadn't heard much from Paul K. Charlton, the canned U.S. attorney in Arizona, but he sure ripped the lid off this thing in his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee a little while ago.
After Associate Deputy Attorney William E. Moschella testified that Charlton was asked to resign because of a dispute with the FBI over whether it should begin taping the confessions of criminal suspects, Charlton testified that he found it ironic that DOJ was giving that as the reason for his dismissal and then laid out the following sequence of events:
Charlton's district included Indian country, which made Charlton the top law enforcement officer for the reservations and meant he was in charge of prosecuting a host of crimes not usually prosecuted at the federal level, like child molestation cases. In those cases, taped confessions are essential, Charlton said, and his office was losing cases and pleading them down because the FBI policy is not to tape confessions.
So Charlton started requiring the FBI to tape confessions in his district. That led to complaints to Main Justice and an order from DOJ that he change his policy. At that point, Charlton himself threatened to resign unless his policy was left in place, and he explained why. In response, DOJ suggested that Charlton begin a pilot program using the taped confessions and reporting back examples of cases which would have been lost or pleaded down without the confessions. He never heard more from DOJ about the policy or the program.
So you might say Charlton got canned for being too aggressive in his prosecution of child molesters--if you believe the taping dispute was really why he was fired.
Paul has more on the responses of the other USAs to the explanations being given by Moschella for their dismissals, which they are hearing themselves for the first time today.