October 11th, 2007
08:00 AM ET
15 years ago

Former attorney general hires influential lawyer

Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has hired a powerful Washington attorney to represent him.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has hired influential Washington attorney George Terwilliger to represent him as a probe continues into allegations he misled lawmakers about a controversial surveillance program and illegally let politics influence hiring and firing decisions at the Justice Department.

Terwilliger tells CNN his firm is "assisting Judge Gonzales as we assist many companies and individuals when they are cooperating with investigations. It is always unfair for anyone to assume that hiring a lawyer represents anything other than common sense."

The Justice Department's Inspector General and its Office of Professional Responsibility are investigating the firing of eight U.S. attorneys last year and other issues that subsequently arose from the congressional probe into them, including whether Gonzales intentionally misled Congress about the administration's warrantless surveillance program and internal opposition to it.

Gonzales has maintained he did nothing intentionally wrong in relation to those incidents.

Terwilliger was the Justice Department's No. 2 official in the early 1990s and, according to several officials, was on the short list to replace Gonzales after he resigned in August.

President Bush has nominated retired federal judge Michael Mukasey to replace Gonzales.

- CNN Justice Correspondent Kelli Arena

Filed under: Alberto Gonzales • Michael Mukasey
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Bill W, Coatesville, PA

    He doesn't even need a lwyer – Bush will just pardon him. Or he'll sell Bush out, too. They're both criminals in it together.

    October 10, 2007 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  2. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    Common sense to hire a lawyer? He is a lawyer. I don't think it's unfair to assume he's guilty either. Doesn't a prosecuter have to assume his guilt in order to prove it?

    October 10, 2007 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  3. Steve, Chelsea, MI

    Sideshow Bob's last name is Terwilliger.

    October 10, 2007 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  4. erika morgan black dimond wa

    GOOD! He is going to need a good lawyer if our current government does the job we expect them to do. Clemency for wrongdoers of the past has led our current leaders to feel themselves above the law as office holders, this thinking must be stopped once and for all.

    October 10, 2007 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  5. therealist

    When will our pitiful 110th Congress stop these political witch hunts and do something meaningful for a change? Are they trying to lower their ratings??

    October 10, 2007 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  6. dukes james a. griffin ga.

    some one with a working brain cell may want to ask around the district court at 75 spring st. atlanta ga. to find out about two women who were on the 22nd floor behind the counter of the filing desk in 2003 early 2003 jan-maybe april; the two had a lap-top and were downloading origional documents only-the older one was cute she ask me for mines. the younger was a dark blond it may have been the myers lady any-way some one could ask. one never know.

    October 10, 2007 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    We have gone from "I don't remember" to,"I did nothing intentionally wrong."
    It truely amazes me that people attain such high positions in government due to their intellect, and then when things go wrong have a convient loss of memory. I would have compassion for Gonzales, but for the fact that he helped in the attempt to shred the Constitution of the United State. Which protects "WE THE PEOPLE" from our government.

    October 11, 2007 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  8. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    It certainly is fair to assume that Gonzo's retention of counsel is "common sense" in view of his potential exposure to perjury and contempt of Congress charges. Had this poor dumb Bushie listened to his smarter DOJ lawyers, he might not be in this heat.

    I hope he goes down as another symbol of an administration gone wild in its contempt for the rule of law. Unlike Scooter, I think he'd roll over on Bush and Cheney if he faced some serious time.

    October 11, 2007 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  9. Bradley Schaubs, Greeley, CO

    Gonzales is guilty, Craig is gay, and Bush is evil. Want a change from the current predicament? Vote Democrat (anyone but HRC) in 2008!

    October 11, 2007 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  10. MCD, San Francisco

    If justice is to be served... he will need a lawyer.

    October 11, 2007 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  11. laurinda.ny

    As long as those evil Republicans stay out of this He will go to jail where he belongs. Actually, they all should go to jail for harming the American people.

    October 11, 2007 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  12. realitycheck

    Want a change from the current predicament? Vote Democrat (anyone but HRC) in 2008!

    In CO, they actually believe there's going to be positive political change in 2008... This is your brain on liberal kool-aid.

    October 11, 2007 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  13. Rose Hann New London, CT

    Gonzalez doesn't remember anything, so why did he hire an attorney? Smells like a cover-up.

    October 11, 2007 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  14. Rose Hann New London, CT

    Gonzalez doesn't recall anything, so why did he hire an attorney? I think he got his memory back and it must smell like a cover-up.

    October 11, 2007 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  15. John Chicago

    Democrats let it go ,,you pushed this honorable man out of office,,what do you want, his head????This man was only trying to protect the American people, you democrats make me sick.....

    October 11, 2007 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  16. Kate, Aurora CO

    Of course he is going to retain an attorney but we all know what the end result will be if he is found guilty. Bush will grant a full pardon. This administration gives no regard to the constitution or the laws of this country. They have proven time and time again they believe themselves to be above the law. Instead of going after Gonzalez or even Libby why not go after the ones who gave the commands? Justice bought and paid for, the American way.

    October 11, 2007 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  17. Richard, St. Paul, MN

    I hope that they probe Gonzalez all the way up to his tonsils. The little toad is a crook who needs to be prosecuted.

    October 11, 2007 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  18. Maark R. Fort Lauderdale FL

    I agree with therealist. Thank goodness he's gone, and we're getting a new AG. Now drop it, congress. There's too much to get done for this country to continue pursuing this, and Bush would never let him serve jail anyway (remember Scooter Libby).

    October 11, 2007 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  19. Coach Haughton NH

    I don't know what the rest of the democrats who comment here think but I happen to love having the majority. GRILL 'EM.

    October 11, 2007 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  20. Scott, Cincinnati, OH

    Years will pass before we know the complete damage he and the Bushies have done to our government. I hope his legal bills build up to the point the old fart goes broke before he's sent to prison.

    October 11, 2007 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  21. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca

    Anyone that represents themselves in court has a fool for a client.

    Sorry folks – this investigation is going drag out and nothing will come of it. Money well spent, Demcrats!!

    We wouldn't want to look into REAL issues like Norman Hsu illegally funneling $850,000 into Hillary campaign.

    Ironically – those 8 attorneys fired by the AG's office were done so because they WEREN'T investigating campaign fraud issues.

    Yeah – let's go after the Attorney General for firing 8 lazy partisan attorneys AND ignore campaign fraud issues (when they're committed by Democrats).

    October 11, 2007 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  22. Bruce, Charlotte, NC

    Hey EBW – Just thought you should know that, yes, US attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president. And, yes, most new administrations fire most, if not all, US attorneys at the beginning of their presidency. BUT what is different in this case, and please enlighten yourself and look it up, is that mass firings do NOT take place between consecutive presidential terms. In 200+ years, there has only been 2 or 3 cases where a sitting incumbent president has fired US attorneys for whatever reason, and it is normally just one being fired. Geez, talk about the kool-aid. Do people really believe the talking points that they are being fed by the neo-cons?

    October 11, 2007 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  23. Minneapolis, MN

    EBW, Dubya DID fire (accept resignations from) the attorneys just like Clinton did when he first came to office. The difference is that Clinton didn't fire the attorneys that then put loyalty to the US Constitution above loyalty to the President. BTW Reagan also replaced the previous administration's attorneys.

    October 11, 2007 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  24. Don, Los Angeles CA

    EBW: you are correct that with every new president there are firings. The difference is this was in the middle of a term. This was politically motivated because the fired attorneys either couldn't or wouldn't find more cases against the democrats while others were working on cases against key Republicans.

    October 11, 2007 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  25. Colony 14 author, Mount Prospect, Illinois

    I'm note sure how the democrats think they'll be able to assemble any evidence to convict Gonzalez of anything. After all, we already know they aren't willing to listen in on phone calls or request phone records. Nor can they grill him wih tough questioning, because they consider that torture. Further, their war on the republicans has never been officially declared, and Mexico will veto anything they come up with at the U.N.

    October 11, 2007 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
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