E-mails shed new details on US Attorney for Arizona

Newly released e-mails show the former U.S. Attorney for Arizona was targeted for removal over his views on drug smuggling.

Paul Charlton adopted a policy not to prosecute marijuana cases of less than 500 pounds. But he said his office would always bring charges for drugs found on the Tohono O'odham Nation "because of our trust responsibility," one e-mail between political aides at the Department of Justice and the White House states.

Charlton also butted heads over other Indian issues. He refused to adopt a blanket death penalty policy for tribal cases and wanted the FBI to tape interviews and confessions with people accused of child abuse on reservations.

He was overruled at least twice on the death penalty, including a case involving a member of the Navajo Nation. None of the e-mails appear to refer to this case or the FBI tapings.

Charlton won praise from tribal leaders for his work in Indian Country. Nevertheless, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Arizona) was "fine" with his removal after being told about it by DOJ, another e-mail states.

Kyl and Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) subsequently recommended Diane Humetewa, a member of the Hopi Tribe, as U.S. Attorney. President Bush passed her over in naming an interim federal prosecutor.

Get the Story:
White House Cites Lax Voter-Fraud Investigations in U.S. Attorneys' Firings (The Washington Post 3/14)
Loyalty’ to Bush and Gonzales Was Factor in Prosecutors’ Firings, E-Mail Shows (The New York Times 3/14)

US Attorney Firing Emails:
Set 1 | Set 2 | Set 3 | Set 4

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