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Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2008 | Former U.S. Attorney Carol Lam was fired for incompetence, and not for any other reason.
The principal job of the U.S. Attorney in this district is to protect the border — to prosecute people who smuggle drugs, aliens, and guns. And she failed at that.
In addition, Lam attempted to substitute a political agenda for the agenda of protecting the border — and she failed at that too.
Lam’s prosecutions of three San Diego City Council members ended with only one felony conviction — and that conviction is likely to be overturned on appeal. This case fit the national pattern of George W. Bush’s Justice Department prosecutions of local Democrats — prosecutions which have been excoriated in House Judiciary Committee hearings.
I was prosecuted by Lam in what started out with big headlines and a six-count felony indictment, only to end with a fine for a campaign spending violation. The reason I was prosecuted was because I helped elect the three council members Lam went after.
Her prosecutions of Alvarado Hospital (which she tried personally) and of Peregrine Systems were also failures.
The Randall “Duke” Cunningham prosecution was an aberration. It was uncovered by the press in Washington D.C. and laid in Lam’s lap. She couldn’t ignore it because Cunningham’s misconduct was so egregious.
The prosecutions Lam instigated against various city pension fund figures seem to have been instigated by her close personal friendship with pension fund whistleblower Dianne Shippione (who is Lam’s personal financial advisor) and her husband, attorney Pat Shea (who was Dubya’s close friend and classmate at Harvard Business School).
As Kelly Thornton reported in voiceofsandiego.org, a thorough investigation by the new Attorney General found no evidence of any political motivation in Carol Lam’s firing.
In short, Carol Lam was a failed prosecutor who pursued cases with no real basis in law to fit a personal and political agenda.