Former White House Deputy Counsel leads drive to aid Gonzales defray legal expenses
Published: Thursday November 15, 2007
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Justice Department inquiry to be completed in several months, report says

The man who took the fall for the firing of nine US attorneys is stocking up to fund attorneys of his own now that he can no longer rely on the taxpayers' largesse to enforce the laws of the land.

The man leading the drive?

Ford Motor Company general counsel David G. Leitch, who wrote in an email last month to supporters that Gonzales is "innocent of any wrongdoing" but can't afford to pay for his defense, according to the Washington Post's Dan Eggen.

As his biography notes, "Immediately prior to joining Ford, Leitch served in the White House as Deputy Counsel to President George W. Bush. In that capacity, he advised the President and his staff on a variety of legal issues, including issues involving the war on terror, judicial nominations, legislative proposals and ethics."

Supporters of the erstwhile Attorney General have created a trust fund to help defray his legal expenses, which are steadily mounting. Gonzales faces a Justice Department investigation into whether he committed perjury or improperly prepped a congressional witness.

A contribution form asks for donations to the Alberto R. Gonzales Legal Expense Trust, suggesting contributions from $500 to $5,000.

According to Eggen's sources, the probe into Gonzales' misdoings is set to be completed in the next few months. "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."

"In the hyper-politicized atmosphere that has descended on Washington, an innocent man cannot simply trust that the truth will out," Ford's general counsel wrote in his appeal. "He must engage highly competent legal counsel to represent him. That costs money, money that Al Gonzales doesn't have."

Eggen adds: "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."

Ford's general counsel also wrote that Gonzales attorney George J. Terwilliger III "has substantially reduced his fees to represent Al Gonzales, but the costs will likely be high nonetheless."