Thursday, August 02, 2007

Between a rock and a hard place

People sometimes write to me about John Brownlee, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia.

On his recent appearance before Congress, some say as in this post that DOJ should have been telling him to delay the Purdue deal, because it was too soft on the company. The Washington Post article says, however, that the call to the W.D. Va. prosecutors came at the request of counsel for the company - and obviously not for the purpose of replacing the deal with something more harsh. So, some like Senator Specter wanted Brownlee's office to do more, some who were sympathetic to the company wanted them to do less.

Mr. Brownlee's statement to the Judiciary Committee is here. It references, among other things, the criticism from Dr. Sally Satel, published in the Wall Street Journal, and reprinted here, who thought the Purdue deal would come at a cost to pain sufferers.

The last word on the claim of political interference in the Purdue case belongs to Chief Judge Jones, who wrote this: "It has been suggested that Purdue may have received a favorable deal from the government solely because of politics. I completely reject this claim. I have had long experience with the United States Attorney for this district, and I am convinced that neither he nor the career prosecutors who handled this case would have permitted any political interference. In fact, I am sure that they would have refused to accept a plea agreement that they did not sincerely feel was in the best interests of justice."

UPDATE: Wait, the Roanoke paper is sounding off on the same topic.

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