US Attorney Targeted After DoJ Brushoff

Lawyer put on pink-slip list after refusal to slow case vs. drugmaker
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 1, 2007 7:00 PM CDT
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales smiles as he attends the meeting of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and the Asset Forfeiture Program, Tuesday, July 31, 2007, at a hotel in Washington....   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – A US attorney testified yesterday that he found himself on a firings list after rebuffing DoJ pressure to slow a case—on the eve of a guilty plea. The Post reports a Justice higher-up urged John Brownlee to stall proceedings against the manufacturer of an addictive painkiller hours before it entered a $635 million plea agreement.

Brownlee kept his job, but the call on behalf of the makers of OxyContin was pressure that “could easily have a chilling effect” on prosecutors’ work, said a former Justice official. With AG Alberto Gonzalez under scrutiny over the dismissal of attorneys, Brownlee's testimony provided more evidence into attempts by Justice brass to influence individual lawyers.