A former Justice Department attorney who quit his job to protest the Obama administration’s handling of the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case is accusing Attorney General Eric Holder of dropping the charges for racially-motivated reasons.
J. Christian Adams, now an attorney in Virginia and a conservative blogger, also accuses Deputy Attorney General Thomas Perez of lying under oath to Congress about the circumstances surrounding the decision to drop the probe.
The Justice Department has defended its move to drop the case, saying it obtained an injunction against one member to keep him away from polling stations while dismissing charges against the others “based on a careful assessment of the facts and the law.”
But Adams told Fox News that politics and race was at play in the dismissal.
“There is a pervasive hostility within the civil rights division at the Justice Department toward these sorts of cases,” Adams told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly.
Adams says he believes the Justice Department has a policy now of not pursuing voting rights cases against white victims.
“In voting, that will be the case over the next few years, there’s no doubt about it,” he said.
In an opinion article published in the Washington Times last week, Adams said the dismissal “raises serious questions about the department’s enforcement neutrality in upcoming midterm elections and the subsequent 2012 presidential election.”
Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler dismissed Adams’ accusations as a “good faith disagreement” with ulterior motives.
“It is not uncommon for attorneys within the department to have good faith disagreements about the appropriate course of action in a particular case, although it is regrettable when a former department attorney distorts the facts and makes baseless allegations to promote his or her agenda,” she said in a written statement.
In the final days of the Bush administration, three Black Panthers — Minister King Samir Shabazz, Malik Zulu Shabazz and Jerry Jackson — were charged in a civil complaint with violating the Voter Rights Act in November 2008 by using coercion, threats and intimidation at a Philadelphia polling station — with Shabazz brandishing what prosecutors called a deadly weapon.
The Obama administration won the civil case in federal court in April 2009 but moved to dismiss the charges in May 2009. Justice attorneys said a criminal complaint, which resulted in the injunction, proceeded successfully.
The department “is committed to comprehensive and vigorous enforcement of both the civil and criminal provisions of federal law that prohibit voter intimidation. We continue to work with voters, communities, and local law enforcement to ensure that every American can vote free from intimidation, coercion or threats,” Schmaler said Wednesday.