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As of late last week, aides to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales were still debating how to prepare him for his much-anticipated April 17 appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee probing U.S. attorney firings. They’re undecided on whether any outside lawyers should be brought in to help. A Justice Department spokeswoman said Gonzales would have preparation sessions “most of the week.” At least initially, Gonzales’ murder boards will be run by a group of Justice lawyers including Steven Bradbury, the assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel (who is perhaps best known for authoring the unsigned 2006 Justice memo justifying the warrantless surveillance program); Richard Hertling, the assistant attorney general for legislative affairs; Charles Rosenberg, Gonzales’ interim chief of staff, who is also U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Courtney Elwood, the deputy chief of staff; Matthew Friedrich, a counsel to Gonzales; and Kevin O’Connor, an associate deputy attorney general. A number of Gonzales’ top aides and deputies, including Paul McNulty and William Mercer (the second- and third-ranking officials at Justice) will not be included because they have been or are expected to be queried about their own roles in the firings.
Jason McLure can be contacted at [email protected].

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