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Washington - Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch threatened to sue in 2000 in a federal police probe, said today that he is lobbying Republican senators to confirm her as the next U.S. attorney general.
And instead of holding Lynch's probe into the New York Police Department against her, Giuliani actually used it as a selling point for her confirmation in a telephone call with reporters to back her bid to become the nation's top law enforcement official.
Giuliani said how she handled the investigation and negotiations with the city shows Lynch is “extremely fair,” a “professional lawyer” and definitely “not a political operative in any sense.”
“She was involved in cases for and against the city,” Giuliani said on the phone call. On “one very major one where we were on the other side… we got an absolutely fair and complete hearing, even though she disagreed with us,” he said.
Lynch inherited the federal investigation into police brutality and the New York Police Department’s disciplinary process – begun after officers sodomized Haitian immigrant Abner Louima in a precinct bathroom in 1997 - when she became U.S. Attorney for Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island in 1999. She left the post in 2001 and returned to it in 2010.
Letters between Giuliani and then Attorney General Janet Reno in 2000 and 2001, as Newsday reported, show Lynch gave the mayor an ultimatum to either accept a consent decree and federal oversight of the NYPD or she would sue the next day. Giuliani appealed to Reno in letters and a meeting in Washington. Reno stopped Lynch from filing a lawsuit.
A prosecutor who worked on the case said that allowed the major and his attorneys to run out the clock in negotiations until the Clinton administration gave way to the incoming Bush administration – which shelved the case and closed it at the end of 2004.
In his praise of Lynch’s handling of the negotiations, Giuliani added a new information that was not in the letters – he says he asked Lynch if he could take his case to Reno.
“She allowed us to appeal the case to the attorney general of the United States, which many U.S. attorneys don’t have the intellectual honesty to do,” Giuliani said.
While Giuliani enthusiastically endorsed Lynch for her skills and independence – “She’s overqualified to be attorney general,” he said – he also urged a return to the “original intent” of the Constitution, which he said calls for the Senate to confirm presidential nominees unless they are unqualified or dishonest.
He knocked Senate Republicans opposing her because she agrees with the legal reasoning behind President Barack Obama’s executive order deferring deportation of millions of noncitizens here illegally.
He said as mayor he appointed people who agreed with him and that President Ronald Reagan of course appointed conservatives.
“Why would he appoint someone who disagrees with his policy?” Giuliani asked.