D.A. agrees with Senate rejection of Obama nominee

Posted: March 07, 2014

DISTRICT Attorney Seth Williams, typically an ardent supporter of President Obama, joined with congressional Republicans yesterday in opposing the nomination of Debo Adegbile to a top Justice Department post.

Williams said in a news conference that Adegbile's role in defending convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal is the crux of why he, too, objects to the nomination. Adegbile was Obama's top pick to head the Justice Department's civil-rights division. He was head of the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund at the time it was fighting against the death penalty for Abu-Jamal.

"Mr. Adegbile's decision to champion the cause of an extremist cop killer sends a message of contempt to police officers who risk their lives every day," Williams said.

"He is ill-suited for a pivotal role in the Justice Department. From the very beginning, the defense of this man, charged with the murder of Officer Daniel Faulkner, was about misleading the public. He is a cold-blooded murderer not deserving of hero worship."

Sen. Pat Toomey, who led the opposition against Adegbile, held a conference call with reporters after news broke that the Senate had voted to block the Obama nomination.

"I knew this was going to be an uphill battle," Toomey said. "It's very hard to defeat a nominee of a sitting president. I just felt that this was a sufficiently important case, worth taking on the fight."

Adegbile reportedly had worked on Abu-Jamal's death-penalty appeal as director of litigation for the Legal Defense Fund.

"We will not tolerate the abuse of our criminal-justice system for the purpose of propagating a radical and dishonest agenda," Toomey said.

Meanwhile, the White House issued a strongly worded response. Obama called the Senate vote a "travesty based on wildly unfair character attacks against a good and qualified public servant."

"The fact that his nomination was defeated solely based on his legal representation of a defendant runs contrary to a fundamental principle of our system of justice - and those who voted against his nomination denied the American people an outstanding public servant."

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