Hey, remember how I asked whether, if Noel Hillman were subpoenaed in the woods but no one saw it, whether he really got subpoenaed?

Well, it turns out he did get subpoenaed.

As a reminder, Noel Hillman used to be head of the Public Integrity Section of DOJ. Now he’s a judge in New Jersey and had been an appointee to the Appeals Court, before Bush got cold feet and pulled his nomination. Jill Simpson, the lawyer who has sworn under oath that Karl Rove was involved in the prosecution of Don Siegelman, testified that Rove was arm-twisting Hillman to prosecute Siegelman.

A And so, anyway, he was telling me all of the things that Alice had done as far as having messed up the deal. And then I — and that since she had messed it up, he was definitely running, you know what — I mean — and then he proceeds to tell me that Bill Canary and Bob Riley had had a conversation with Karl Rove again and that they had this time gone over and seen whoever was the head of the department of — he called it PIS, which I don’t think that is the correct acronym, but that’s what he called it. And I had to say what is that and he said that is the Public Integrity Section.


Q Okay. And who — when you say they had made a decision, who are you thinking of?

A Whoever that head of that Public Integrity — the PIS was as Rob referred to it. And then whoever — and Karl Rove.

Q And what — well, from talking to Rob, this conversation you’re describing for me was in late January, early February 2005?

A That is correct.


Q Okay. And did Rob give you the name of the person at — I’m just going to call it Public Integrity — that he thought he understood Karl Rove had spoken to?

A No, he said it was the head guy there and he said that that guy had agreed to allocate whatever resources, so evidently the guy had the power to allocate resources, you know.

Q To the Siegelman prosecution?

A Yes. And that he’d allocate all resources necessary.

Simpson’s testimony suggests that Hillman was a key player in Rove’s politicization of DOJ.

Now, it’s not Siegelman subpoenaing Hillman; it’s Jack Beam, one of the lawyers associated with Geoffrey Fieger who donated to John Edwards. Beam is suing FEC and DOJ because their investigation into Fieger did not follow the normal procedure of going through FEC and Beam got dragged into–including having his financial records subpoenaed. Beam suggests the irregularity may be no accident and that the investigation of Fieger and his associates remained in the MI USA office and, you guessed it, PIN, given how intently Rove and Gonzales were politicizing everything at DOJ. As I pointed out yesterday, the government’s story about whether the investigation was primarily managed in MI or in DC seems to change every time there’s a hearing on the Fieger case. And they get particularly evasive when asked if Noel Hillman had any role in this prosecution. So there’s at least reason to be curious about what Judge Hillman would have to say about the early days of the investigation into Geoffrey Fieger and his associates.

The government, of course, is fighting this subpoena and they’re trying to get the Beam suit thrown out altogether. But this subpoena is, AFAIK, the first time that someone outside of Congress has subpoenaed the people alleged to have politicized prosecutions at DOJ.



Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.