Posts Tagged ‘David Gaouette’
Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

John Walsh (Hill & Robbins PC)

John F. Walsh (Williams College, Stanford Law School) is nominated to be U.S. Attorney for Colorado. He would replace Troy Eid, who became a shareholder at Greenberg Traurig in Denver in January 2009, as the Senate-confirmed U.S. Attorney for the district. The district’s current interim U.S. Attorney is David M. Gaouette.

Walsh’s vitals:

  • Born in New York, N.Y., in 1961.
  • Attended but did not earn a degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.
  • Has been a partner at Hill & Robbins PC in Denver since October 1999.
  • Worked at Holland & Hart LLP in Denver from 1995 to 1999. Served as partner and of counsel.
  • Was a legal commentator for CBS News from 1996 to 1999.
  • Worked as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California from 1987 to 1995.
  • Clerked for Judge J. Skelly Wright in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., from 1986 to 1987.
  • Has tried approximately 25 cases, serving as chief counsel on all of these cases with the exception of one case, in which he served as second chair.

Click here for his full Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire.

UPDATE: On his Office of Government Ethics questionnaire Walsh reported receiving a membership draw from Hill & Robbins PC of $103,751.

On his Senate Judiciary financial disclosure Walsh reported assets valued at $2.4 million, mostly from two real estate properties, and $696,000 in liabilities, mostly from mortgages on the properties, for a net worth of $1.7 million.

Monday, November 30th, 2009
Anwar al-Aulaqi

Anwar al-Awlaki

The interim U.S. Attorney for Colorado, David Gaouette, rescinded a felony arrest warrant in 2002 for the radical Islamic cleric who has emerged as a focus of investigators in the Nov. 5 shooting deaths at Fort Hood, according to ABC News.

Gaouette was an assistant U.S. Attorney in charge of terror cases in the state when the warrant for Anwar al Awlaki was rescinded, ABC said.

The day after the warrant was canceled, federal authorities detained the U.S.-born Awlaki at New York’s JFK airport as he arrived on a flight from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. After questioning, Awlaki was released and continued on his way to Washington, D.C., where he was an imam at a suburban mosque attended by two of the 9/11 hijackers, Nawaf Alhamzi and Hani Hanjour.

Awlaki also had met in 2000 with Alhamzi and another future 9/11 hijacker, Khalid Almihdhar, at a mosque in San Diego.

Members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force in San Diego, speaking anonymously, told ABC News they were “disappointed and shocked” by Gaouette’s decision not to arrest Awlaki in 2002. “This was a missed opportunity to get this guy under wraps so we could look at him under a microscope,” a JTTF source told ABC. It isn’t clear why the warrant was canceled. A spokesperson for Gaouette said he was “unfamiliar with the particulars of the Awlaki case, and would have to research it before he could comment,” ABC reported.

The cleric had first come under FBI scrutiny in 1999. The Bureau found that Awlaki had been in contact with an associate of “blind sheik” Omar Abdel Rahman, whose followers were convicted of attempting to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993, ABC News said. Awlaki, who now lives in Yemen, runs a Web site that promotes violent jihad against the West. He was in email contact last year and this year with Maj. Nidal Hasan, who is accused of killing 13 people in a shooting spree at the Fort Hood military base in Texas.

After looking into the email contacts, the FBI decided they didn’t merit further investigation. The Bureau missed information in Hasan’s training file at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington that would have shown his colleagues were troubled by views the Army psychiatrist expressed about Muslim conflict with the West. The apparent failure to connect the dots — reminiscent of pre-9/11 intelligence lapses — is the subject of congressional investigations.

Awlaki praised suspected Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan on his blog earlier this month.

Read the full report here: How Anwar Awlaki Got Away – ABC News.

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

The chairman of the Colorado Republican party wrote  a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, slamming President Barack Obama’s pick for the state’s top federal prosecuting job.

Dick Wadhams stopped short of calling on the panel to reject the nomination of Stephanie Villafuerte to be Colorado U.S. Attorney. But he wrote: “Colorado deserves better than a U.S. Attorney who apparently might have used her former employer, the Denver District Attorney’s Office, for blatant partisan political purposes.”

Stephanie Villafuerte (gov)

Stephanie Villafuerte (gov)

We reported yesterday that Wadhams and Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) are questioning whether Villafuerte asked employees of the Denver DA’s office to access a restricted government database to help the 2006 campaign of Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter.

Wadhams highlighted a Denver Post article and editorial that are turning up the heat on Villafuerte, who is currently Ritter’s deputy chief of staff.

Villafuerte had discussions with staffers in the Denver district attorney’s office about an illegal immigrant who was featured in an ad against Ritter produced by his opponent, Republican Bob Beauprez, according to The Post.

But she told the FBI in 2007 that she had “no conversations” with the DA employees about the undocumented immigrant, Carlos Estrada-Medina, who is also an alleged heroin dealer, the newspaper said. Villafuerte has declined to comment to the newspaper.

“It is clear from the Denver Post story that, to be charitable, Stephanie Villafuerte was not forthcoming in her conversations with the FBI,” Wadhams wrote in his letter.

Republicans charge that Villafuerte is being treated differently in the matter than a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent named Cory Voorhis, who lost his job after accessing the same database on behalf of the Beauprez campaign.

A spokesperson for Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) told Main Justice today that the senator’s office hadn’t received the letter yet. A spokesperson for panel Ranking Member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) was unable to comment immediately.

President Barack Obama tapped Villafuerte for the post Sept. 30. She would replace acting U.S. Attorney for Colorado David Gaouette, who has been in the position since Bush appointee Troy Eid resigned in January. The Senate Judiciary Committee has yet to consider her nomination.

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Another Colorado Republican is expressing concern about whether the state’s U.S. Attorney nominee inappropriately used state resources to help her boss during his successful 2006 gubernatorial campaign, The Denver Post reported Saturday.

State GOP chairman Dick Wadhams has joined former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) in questioning whether Stephanie Villafuerte used a restricted government database for political purposes, which could be a crime, according to the newspaper.

Stephanie Villafuerte (gov)

Stephanie Villafuerte (gov)

Villafuerte, who is the deputy chief of staff to Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter, has declined to comment to The Post.

The issue centers on discussions she had with staffers in the Denver district attorney’s office about an illegal immigrant who was featured in an ad against Ritter produced by Republican Bob Beauprez’s gubernatorial campaign. She told the FBI in 2007 that she had “no conversations” with the DA employees about Carlos Estrada-Medina, who is also an alleged heroin dealer. Estrada-Median had once obtained a plea deal under the allias of Walter Ramo when Ritter was Denver’s district attorney, according to The Post.

Republicans charge that Villafuerte is being treated differently in the matter than a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent named Cory Voorhis, who lost his job after accessing the same database on behalf of the Beauprez campaign.

“It is time for Stephanie Villafuerte and her boss, Bill Ritter, to finally come clean on possible inappropriate behavior during their efforts to smear ICE agent Cory Voorhis,” Wadhams told The Post.

Voorhis was charged in 2007 with using the National Crime Information Center database to look into Estrada-Medina/Ramo on behalf of the Beauprez campaign for its ad, according to the newspaper. Voorhis said he was authorized to use the database by his supervisor, The Post said. He was later acquitted by a federal jury.

“As the U.S. Attorney, will Stephanie Villafuerte offer help in investigating the corruption, perjury and malfeasance rampant in the Denver regional office of ICE?,” Tancredo, a fierce opponent of illegal immigration, said earlier this month. “Will she be an advocate for the effective enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws after participating in the disgusting vendetta against ICE agent Cory Voorhis? The answer to those questions is probably … no se puede.”

The Post said the Obama White House continues to stand behind its nominee, who was tapped Sept. 30. Villafuerte would replace acting U.S. Attorney for Colorado David Gaouette, who has been in the position since Bush appointee Troy Eid resigned in January.

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

President Obama nominated U.S. Attorneys for Colorado, Missouri and Oklahoma today. They are:

  • Stephanie Villafuerte (gov)

    Stephanie Villafuerte (gov)

    Stephanie Villafuerte (Colorado): Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter (D)’s deputy chief of staff for community outreach would replace David Gaouette, who was appointed as the state’s acting U.S. Attorney Jan. 10, following the resignation of Bush appointee Troy Eid. Villafuerte, who was recommended by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and then-Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.), previously served as Denver’s chief deputy district attorney. She also worked on Ritter’s campaign.

  • Sanford Coats (Western District of Oklahoma): The Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma has served in his current role since 2004 and simultaneously headed the major crimes section of the office from 2007 to 2008. Before joining the office he was an associate at the Oklahoma City law firm Fellers, Snider, Blankenship, Bailey & Tippens.
  • Beth Phillips (Western District of Missouri) The Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri has served in her current role since last year. Before joining the office she was an attorney in the Leawood law firm Bartimus, Frickleton, Robertson & Gorny. In addition, from 1997 to 2001 Phillips served as an assistant prosecutor in Jackson County.

Obama has now made a total of 30 U.S. Attorney nominations. The full Senate has considered 14 of those nominees and they were all confirmed by unanimous consent. Read biographies of the nominees here.

Thursday, August 13th, 2009
David Gaoutte

David Gaoutte

Colorado Acting U.S. Attorney David Gaouette has had his interim position extended by Attorney General Eric Holder for an additional 120 days after his previous appointment Aug. 7, The Denver Post reported today. Gaouette, who has held the temporary position since Jan. 10,  was named to be the acting U.S. Attorney following the resignation of Bush holdover Troy Eid.

If President Obama does not nominate a replacement for Gaouette by the time his extension expires, the court will appoint a U.S. attorney for the state. Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and then-Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.) recommended Stephanie Villafuerte, deputy chief of staff to Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter (D) for community outreach and a former Assistant U.S. Attorney in Colorado; John Walsh, a white-collar criminal and civil attorney from Hill & Robbins in Denver who previously worked for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California; and William “Bill” Thiebaut Jr., a district attorney for Pueblo, Colo. who previously served as the Colorado Senate majority leader.