If you can’t afford the lawyers maybe you shouldn’tdo the crime.
Supporters of former attorney general Alberto R. Gonzales have created a trust fund to help pay for his legal expenses, which are mounting in the face of an ongoing Justice Department investigation into whether Gonzales committed perjury or improperly tampered with a congressional witness.
The establishment of a legal defense fund for the nation’s former chief law enforcement officer underscores the potential peril confronting Gonzales, who is one of a handful of attorneys general to face potential criminal charges for actions taken in office.
David G. Leitch, a Gonzales friend and general counsel at the Ford Motor Co., wrote in an e-mail solicitation to potential contributors last month that Gonzales is “innocent of any wrongdoing” but does not have the means to pay for his legal defense after a career spent mostly in public service.
The Justice Department’s investigation of Gonzales is likely to be completed in the next several months, according to sources with knowledge of the investigation’s progress. The inspector general is looking at whether Gonzales misled Congress in sworn testimony and improperly sought to influence testimony of an aide, Monica M. Goodling, about last year’s firings of nine U.S. attorneys.
The inspector general’s office cannot bring criminal charges, but it can hand over evidence to prosecutors with a recommendation for further investigation and possible charges, officials have said.