Former Civil Rights Division lawyer J. Christian Adams has escalated his war with the Department of Justice, giving a two-part interview to Fox News asserting that racial motivations were behind dismissal of a voter intimidation case against members of the New Black Panther Party.
And for the first time, the Justice Department has criticized J. Christian Adams‘ own motivations on the record.
The November 2008 incident at a Philadelphia polling place has become a cause celebre for conservatives. Two members of the anti-white fringe group stood outside the polling place in military-style garb, one of them holding a night stick.
The Obama DOJ dismissed the case last year, citing a lack of a pattern of intimidation and the fact that one of the Black Panthers was a registered Democratic poll watcher. The DOJ obtained an injunction against the Black Panther who carried the nightstick.
“You’re supposed to be able to go vote without somebody with a weapon shouting racist slurs at you,” Adams said in his first Fox News interview on Wednesday. “They said, ‘You’re about to be ruled by the black man, Cracker.’ They called people ‘white devils.’ They tried to stop people from entering the polls.”
In fact, no voters at all in the Philadelphia precinct have come forward to allege intimidation. The complaints have come from white Republican poll watchers, who have given no evidence they were registered to vote in the majority black precinct.
An Associated Press story inaccurately described the scene as one where white voters were being intimidated by the Black Panther members. The only white people at the scene that day appeared to be the Republican poll watchers. And Fox News host Megyn Kelly inaccurately described video taken of the incident as made by a “voter.” In fact, the video was made by Stephen Robert Morse, a blogger hired by the local Republican Party on behalf of the John McCain presidential campaign.
The Philadelphia video also did not capture any racial slurs, although the two Black Panthers were shown in an earlier National Geographic documentary using derogatory terms against whites. The Southern Poverty Law Center has classified the New Black Panther Party as a hate group.
“It is not uncommon for attorneys within the department to have good faith disagreements about the appropriate course of action in a particular case, although it is regrettable when a former department attorney distorts the facts and makes baseless allegations to promote his or her agenda,” Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler told Fox News in a written statement.
Described as a DOJ “whistleblower” by Fox News host Kelly, Adams was hired as a career lawyer under an improperly politicized process during the Bush administration. Adams quit the Justice Department June 4, after officials banned him from testifying before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights about the handling of the case.
Asked by Kelly if he thought the DOJ is corrupt, Adams said: “I don’t think the department or the fine people who work there are corrupt.” But he said the decision to dismiss the case was corrupt, and accused the DOJ of having a policy of not pursuing cases where blacks intimidate white voters.
As Main Justice has previously reported, Adams was hired in 2005 by Bradley Schlozman, a Bush-era political appointee who hired “right-thinking Americans” with conservative affiliations in a process the Department of Justice Inspector General concluded was improperly politicized.
Adams has also written a piece for the American Spectator that likened President Barack Obama’s world view to that of Nazi appeasers and argued on a conservative blogging network that health care reform is a threat to liberty.
Adams is making his case in a variety of media outlets. In the past few weeks, he’s written an editorial in The Washington Times, wrote a post for and been interviewed by Pajamas Media, and was featured in segments on Fox News on Wednesday and Thursday.
Adams also said on Fox News that one of the lawyers who made the decision not to pursue the case further, Steve Rosenbaum, did not read the case materials before making his decision. “It was so derelict and so corrupt, that Chris Coates actually threw the memo” at Rosenbaum, Adams said, referring to the former Voting Section chief, who has since been reassigned by the DOJ to South Carolina.
Adams said he wasn’t at the meeting but was told that it took place.