Three Bank of America officials insisted before a congressional panel Tuesday that the firing of its general counsel last December — in the middle of a giant merger and during the U.S. financial crisis — was just ordinary corporate “downsizing.” Some panel members, though, challenged that characterization by calling their testimony “very curious,” “troubling” and not believable.

Tuesday marked the first time that Bank of America executives spoke in public about how general counsel Tim Mayopoulos was fired even as the company was struggling to close its merger deal with Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. Their testimony, as well as Mayopoulos’, came before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

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