In a little noted decision on July 23, a federal district court judge concluded that internal DOJ documents about the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case “contradict Assistant Attorney General [Thomas] Perez’s testimony that political leadership was not involved in” the decision to dismiss the case.
In other words, the sworn testimony of Perez, the Obama political appointee who heads the Civil Rights Division, before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights was apparently false.
The decision in Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice by Judge Reggie Walton was in a case filed by Judicial Watch after the Civil Rights Division refused to turn over documents about the NBPP case requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Walton is the same federal judge who presided over the prosecution of Scooter Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff.
As Judge Walton outlined, Judicial Watch’s FOIA request “sought documents relating to the DOJ’s decision to dismiss civil claims in the New Black Panther Party case.” Walton awarded Judicial Watch a small amount of attorneys’ fees and costs, having concluded that the Judicial Watch lawsuit “was the catalyst for the DOJ’s release of records.”
According to the court, the DOJ documents, including emails from former Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli (who was the number-two official at DOJ) and former Democratic election lawyer and Deputy Associate Attorney General Sam Hirsch, “revealed 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.”
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