Timeline: The Firing of U.S. Attorney Carol Lam

Carol Lam was a U.S. Attorney in San Diego, Calif. She prosecuted former Republican Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, now in federal prison for accepting bribes. The Justice Department has said that Lam was let go because she wasn't aggressive enough in prosecuting immigration and gun cases. But a 2005 performance review cited her as "an effective manager and respected leader."

Below is a timeline of the events leading up to Lam's dismissal.

February 17, 2005: Mistrial declared in first Medicare fraud trial against San Diego's Alvarado Hospital, after jury fails to reach a verdict. U.S. Attorney Carol Lam suggests a retrial is likely.

March 2, 2005: Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' Chief of Staff Kyle Sampson emails White House Counsel Harriet Miers, recommending removal of Carol Lam and several others as "weak U.S. Attorneys who have been ineffectual managers and prosecutors, chafed against Administration initiatives, etc."

June 12, 2005: Front-page story in The San Diego Union Tribune reveals that a defense contractor paid an inflated price for Rep. Duke Cunningham's San Diego-area house. Within days, U.S. Attorney Carol Lam launches an investigation.

November 28, 2005: Cunningham pleads guilty to accepting $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors. He resigns his congressional seat.

March 3, 2006: Cunningham is sentenced to eight years, four months in prison.

April 4, 2006: Mistrial declared in second Medicare fraud trial against San Diego's Alvarado Hospital, after jury fails to reach a verdict. U.S. Attorney Carol Lam had personally tried the case.

Early May, 2006: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services threatens to cut Medicare and Medicaid funds to San Diego's Alvarado Hospital.

May 11, 2006: Front-page story in the Los Angeles Times reports that the U.S. Attorney's office in Los Angeles is probing ties between House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-CA) and lobbyist Bill Lowery, whose clients include alleged Cunningham co-conspirator Brent Wilkes.

May 11, 2006: General Alberto Gonzales' Chief of Staff Kyle Sampson e-mails a deputy in the White House Counsel's office asking to discuss, "The real problem we have right now with Carol Lam that leads me to conclude that we should have someone ready to be nominated on 11/18, the day her 4-year term expires."

May 12, 2006: FBI agents search the home and office of former CIA Executive Director Kyle Foggo, best friend of alleged Cunningham co-conspirator Brent Wilkes.

May 17, 2006: Alvarado Hospital's parent company, Tenet Healthcare, agrees to sell or close the hospital and pay $21 million to settle criminal and civil charges. The hospital is later sold.

May 31, 2006: Attorney General's Chief of Staff Kyle Sampson e-mails Associate Attorney General Bill Mercer asking, "Has ODAG ever called Carol Lam and woodshedded her re immigration enforcement? Has anyone?"

June 15, 2006: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) writes to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, seeking information about immigration enforcement under U.S. Attorney Carol Lam.

August 23, 2006:The Justice Department responds to Feinstein's June 15 inquiry, defending the philosophy of Lam's office, which "focuses on deterrence by directing its resources and efforts against the worst immigration offenders and by bringing felony cases against such defendants that will result in longer sentences."

December 4, 2006: Deputy White House Counsel William K. Kelley e-mails Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' Chief of Staff Kyle Sampson, authorizing the dismissal of seven U.S. Attorneys. "We're a go for the US Attny plan. WH leg, political, and communications have signed off and acknowledged that we have to be committed to following through once the pressure comes."

December 7, 2006: The Justice Department fires Carol Lam and six other U.S. attorneys.

December 21-22, 2006: House Committees on Intelligence, Armed Services and Appropriations disclose that they have been subpoenaed by a San Diego grand jury, continuing the probe of defense contracting that began with Rep. Cunningham.

February 13, 2007: Former CIA Executive Director Kyle Foggo and defense contractor Brent Wilkes are indicted on corruption charges. Both plead "not guilty" the following day.

February 15, 2007: Carol Lam resigns as U.S. Attorney for San Diego.



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