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Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Shaking Up Justice to Restore Integrity

The pressure is on for the Justice Department to get its act together. That pressure was turned up this week when a federal judge not only dismissed the conviction of ex-Sen. Ted Stevens, but appointed an independent lawyer to investigate possible criminal wrongdoing on the part of the government in the case. 

 

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By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. began a series of personnel moves yesterday in one of the most sensitive and secretive sections of the Justice Department, part of his effort to restore public confidence in the nation’s highest law enforcement operation.

The department has attracted ferocious criticism from judges and defense lawyers who have sounded alarms about unprofessional conduct and raised allegations about political interference in prosecutions during the Bush administration.

Holder promised lawmakers at his confirmation hearing this year that he would remove the taint of politics from the department’s hiring practices and perform a “damage assessment” of its operations.

Yesterday he took a step in that direction, naming a longtime prosecutor to lead the Justice Department’s internal ethics unit, as well as making two other personnel switches. For Holder, who got his start as a young lawyer in the department more than three decades ago, the announcements put his stamp on a building still reeling from the dismissal this week of criminal charges against former senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska). The department is also facing fresh calls to reopen the cases of other prominent political figures.

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