E-mails Add Fuel to Black Panther Scandal

Sunday, 26 Sep 2010 12:12 PM

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Judicial Watch has released a report showing that the two highest-ranking political appointees at the Department of Justice played roles in the decision to dismiss a voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party.

The group was accused of displaying weapons, blocking a Philadelphia polling station and insulting white voters on Election Day 2008.

According to Judicial Watch, a Freedom of Information request resulted in a report that "describes documents the government is withholding from the public. Among those documents are internal DOJ emails regarding the Black Panther case between the highest political appointees inside the DOJ, including former Deputy Attorney General David Ogden and the Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli, the second and third ranking officials at the DOJ."

“This new evidence shows that the Obama team lied when it said politics did not influence the Black Panther dismissal,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “We now know that top political leaders inside Obama Justice Department were involved in the call to drop the Black Panther case. And we also know that at least one top Justice official said otherwise under oath. In the meantime, we will ask the court to require the Obama Justice Department to release these (and other) secret documents about this scandal and its cover-up.”

On Friday, Justice Department attorney Christopher Coates testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights that the New Black Panther Party case was gutted for "irrational reasons" because the some department officials are opposed to pursuing voting-rights cases in which whites have been victimized.

"I had people who told me point-blank that they didn't come to the voting rights section to sue African-American people," Coates testified.

Fitton appeared Sunday on Fox News and said the Department of Justice "probably has been lying to the commission [on civil rights] and members of Congress when they say the political appointees, political leadership was not involved in the decision to drop many of the Black Panther charges. ... It shows that the attorney general may have been briefed on this issue. That belies everthing they have been telling us."

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