Federal Judge Reggie Walton has found that internal DOJ documents about the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case “contradict Assistant Attorney General [Thomas] Perez’s testimony that political leadership was not involved in” the decision to dismiss the case. In other words, as Hans Von Spakovsky says, “the sworn testimony of Perez, the Obama political appointee who heads the Civil Rights Division, before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights was apparently false.”
Judge Walton serves on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. He has presided over high profile trials including those of Scooter Libby and Roger Clemens.
This particular case was brought by Judicial Watch, which filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking “documents relating to the DOJ’s decision to dismiss civil claims in the New Black Panther Party case.” According to Judge Walton, the DOJ documents, including emails from former Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli (who was the number-two official at DOJ) and former Democratic election lawyer and Deputy Associate Attorney General Sam Hirsch, “revealed that political appointees within DOJ were conferring about the status and resolution of the New Black Panther Party case in the days preceding the DOJ’s dismissal of claims.”
This finding directly contradicts the sworn testimony of Assistant Attorney General Perez. At a hearing before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on May 14, 2010, Perez was asked whether “any political leadership [was] involved in the decision not to pursue this particular case.” Perez’s answer, on page 79 of the transcript of that hearing, was an unqualified “No.”
Accordingly, as von Spakovsky concludes, it is clear that Judge Walton was being polite when he said that thre documents and the testimony of Perez are contradictory and “cast doubt on the accuracy” of Perez’s account.
Perez’s conduct should, at a minimum, be the subject of an investigation by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility (did Perez violate his ethical and professional obligations as a DOJ attorney) and/or the DOJ inspector general (did Perez violate 18 U.S.C. §1621, which outlaws presenting false statements under oath in official federal proceeding). But don’t hold your breath.