A leading Department of Justice attorney who quit his job after over the Obama administration’s refusal to prosecute Black Panthers who intimidated voters outside polls during the 2008 election claims the administration has ordered the DOJ not to pursue voting-rights cases against black people.
In an interview today, J. Christian Adams, former DOJ attorney and now a contributor at Pajamas Media, told Fox News, “There is a pervasive hostility within the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department toward these sorts of cases.”
Asked whether there is a specific Justice Department policy against pursuing cases where the defendant is black and the victim is white, Adams replied, “Particularly in voting, that will be the case for the next few years. No doubt about it. If you had all the attorneys who worked on this case here, I am quite sure that they would say the exact same thing.”
When Fox News asked Adams who has issued that mandate, he said, “There are some things I’m not going to reveal. They know who they are. They said if somebody wants to review these kinds of cases, it’s not going to be done out of the Civil Rights Division. If the U.S. attorney wants to do it, that’s up to them, but it’s not going to happen in the Civil Rights Division. … It’s a political appointee.”
He added, “This is one of the examples of Congress not being told the truth and the American people not being told the truth about this case. It’s one of other examples in this case where the truth simply is becoming another victim in the process.”
As WND reported, the Justice Department originally brought the case against four armed men who witnesses say derided voters with catcalls of “white devil” and “cracker” and told voters they should prepare to be “ruled by the black man.”
One poll watcher called police after he reportedly saw one of the men brandishing a nightstick to threaten voters.
“As I walked up, they closed ranks, next to each other,” the witness told Fox News at the time. “So I walked directly in between them, went inside and found the poll watchers. They said they’d been here for about an hour. And they told us not to come outside because a black man is going to win this election no matter what.”
He said the man with a nightstick told him, “‘We’re tired of white supremacy,’ and he starts tapping the nightstick in his hand. At which point I said, ‘OK, we’re not going to get in a fistfight right here,’ and I called the police.”
Officials with Judicial Watch, which investigates and prosecutes government corruption, filed a lawsuit seeking the government’s documentation about the case. Likewise, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has opened an active investigation into the DOJ dismissal.
The 2008 election incident in Philadelphia has appeared on video on YouTube:
As WND reported, two men, Minister King Samir Shabazz and Jerry Jackson, wearing paramilitary uniforms and armed with a nightstick, blocked a doorway to a polling location to intimidate voters. Shabazz is leader of the Philadelphia chapter of the New Black Panther Party.
The Justice Department’s complaint was under Section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 against four defendants: the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and its leader, Malik Zulu Shabazz, and the two men who appeared at the Philadelphia polling place Nov. 4, 2008. The complaint accused them of attempting to engage in, and engaging in, both voter intimidation and intimidation of individuals aiding voters.
A federal judge ordered default judgments against the Panthers after party members refused to appear in court. The Washington Times reported the Justice Department was seeking sanctions when Loretta King, acting assistant attorney general who had been granted a political appointment by President Obama in January 2009 to temporarily fill the position, ordered a delay in the proceedings. According to the report, the ruling was issued after King met with Associate Attorney General Thomas J. Perrelli, the department’s No. 3 political appointee, who approved the decision.
Even though DOJ lawyers had won the case, it was suddenly dropped.
“The case was dismissed on May 15, ,” Adams told Fox News. “All the charges were dropped against three of the defendants and the final order against one of the defendants was a timid restraint.”
Only one of four defendants faced punishment: a temporary injunction against appearing at Philadelphia polls with a weapon. The department stopped at the injunction and didn’t call for criminal penalties, monetary damages or other civil penalties.
“We were ordered to dismiss the case,” Adams said. “I mean, we were told drop the charges against the New Black Panther Party.”
The Department of Justice said it made a decision based on the evidence that the case could not go forward.
Reacting to Adams’ statement the DOJ told Fox News:
The department sought and obtained an injunction against the Black Panther who had a nightstick at the polling station. After a thorough review, the facts did not support the case against the other defendants in the case. It is not uncommon for attorneys within the department to have good-faith disagreements about the appropriate course of action in a particular case, although it is regrettable when a former department attorney distorts the facts and makes baseless allegations to promote his or her agenda.
But Adams said high-ranking DOJ officials did not review the facts of the case nor the briefs before making that call.
“It’s obviously false that they knew all the evidence,” he said. “Steve Rosenbaum hadn’t even read the memos which detailed all of the facts and the law. Before he started arguing against the case the mind was made up.”
Adams said career DOJ lawyer Chris Coates believed in the merits of the case and opposed “corruption of this sort.” He confronted Steve Rosenbaum, a DOJ lawyer in the civil-rights division.
“It was so derelict and so corrupt that Chris Coates actually threw the memo at Steve Rosenbaum and said, ‘How dare you make these arguments without even knowing what’s in the briefs?’”
In a commentary published in the Washington Times, Adams wrote, “Based on my firsthand experiences, I believe the dismissal of the Black Panther case was motivated by a lawless hostility toward equal enforcement of the law. Others still within the department share my assessment. The department abetted wrongdoers and abandoned law-abiding citizens victimized by the New Black Panthers.”
He added, “If the actions in Philadelphia do not constitute voter intimidation, it is hard to imagine what would, short of an actual outbreak of violence at the polls. Let’s all hope this administration has not invited that outcome through the corrupt dismissal.”