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Gold Star: Eric Holder

By Ed O'Keefe



Attorney General Eric Holder in his office at the Justice Department during a recent Washington Post interview. (Photo by Post)

Without question, this week's Gold Star goes to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.

Gold Star

Catching Washington off guard last week, Holder asked a federal judge to drop charges against Ted Stevens in the former Alaska senator's corruption trial, on grounds that federal prosecutors mishandled the case. Judge Emmet G. Sullivan agreed with Holder and announced plans to appoint his own special prosecutor to investigate the six DOJ lawyers that prosecuted Stevens. They face potential criminal contempt charges and fines or jail time for alleged misconduct after failing to hand over potentially exculpatory evidence to Stevens's defense team.

Earlier this year, Holder promised lawmakers at his confirmation hearing that he would emphasize integrity over politics at the department. Making good on his promise, he reassigned the head of the department's internal ethics unit and moved around two other top officials. Officials stress Holder's decisions had nothing to do with the Stevens case and his selection of career prosecutors with decades of experience was meant to emphasize ethics and professionalism over political connections.

Beyond the Stevens case and the internal personnel moves, Holder began a well-timed media rollout designed to introduce him to a national audience. He deftly dodged Katie Couric's questions on closing the "gun show loophole" and defended the administration's plans to review the cases of Guantanamo Bay detainees.

As for how he'll restore the department's integrity, Holder told Couric:

"I think one of the things that the department needs is leadership. And we need to let the people who -- who serve in this department, the lawyers who serve in this department, who are extremely dedicated, who sacrifice a great deal to work as lawyers in the Justice Department, simply let them do their jobs. And that's what they want to do. Not get in -- not get in their way."

Striking a lighter tone, Holder told Tuesday's KidsPost that he starts his workday at 8:15 a.m., enjoyed watching "The Three Stooges," and wouldn't dare challenge President Obama to a basketball game. Friday night is pizza night in the Holder household, but he said he is often late for the meal.

"By the time I get home, there usually is not much pizza left, and what's left is pretty cold," he said.

Here's hoping the pie is still warm when he gets home tonight.

Agree or disagree with this week's Gold Star recipient? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 10, 2009; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Gold Star  
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Comments

you mean the department of justice will really be a department of JUSTICE.

eric didn't do a heck of alot here because of the mess up.
a powerful nudge is all it took.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 10, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

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