Second USA fired to make room for Bush operative, refuses to go quietly
The ousted United States attorney in western Michigan said Thursday that she was told last November that she was being forced out to make way for another lawyer the Bush administration wanted to groom, not because of management problems.
The federal prosecutor, Margaret M. Chiara, 63, speaking publicly for the first time since leaving office last Friday, said in an interview that a senior Justice Department official had told her that her resignation was necessary to create a slot for “an individual they wanted to advance.”
“To say it was about politics may not be pleasant, but at least it is truthful,” she said, echoing an e-mail message she sent to a Justice Department official this month. “Poor performance was not a truthful explanation.”
Robert Holmes Bell, the chief federal judge in the Western District of Michigan, praised Ms. Chiara as one of the most competent United States attorneys he had encountered in two decades on the federal bench, and said that the charges of poor management were unjustified.
“I feel a certain loss that someone of her caliber is leaving prematurely,” Judge Bell said.
Chiara said she had intended to remain silent about her dismissal, but became distressed by the department’s comments about her.
“There is irreparable professional damage here, unless it is corrected or retracted,” she said.
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