[JURIST] Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) [official website], chair of the US Senate Judiciary Committee [official website], asked Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official profile; JURIST news archive] in a letter [text] Thursday to provide more details and respond to outstanding questions concerning his role in the firings of eight US Attorneys [JURIST news archive]. Leahy asked Gonzales to submit a written statement at least 48 hours before his pending committee testimony slated for April 17. Gonzales has not yet filed a response to written questions presented to him by the Judiciary Committee at a January 18 hearing.
On Monday, Leahy rejected attempts [JURIST report] by the Bush administration to move up the date that Gonzales is scheduled to testify. Gonzales defended his role [JURIST report] in the firings last Friday, admitting that there has been some confusion, but characterizing his involvement in the matter as being limited to signing off on recommendations made by his former chief of state Kyle Sampson [official profile]. Sampson, who resigned last month [DOJ press release], told the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday that the prosecutors were fired for political reasons [JURIST report] rather than for poor performance as the Justice Department has claimed [JURIST report]. AP has more.