This summer, six attorneys “rejected from civil service positions at the Justice Department filed a lawsuit” against “former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and three other top officials for allegedly violating their rights by taking politics into consideration” in the hiring process for the Honors and Summer Law Intern Programs. Today, McClatchy reports that the Justice Department has agreed to pay for a private lawyer to defend Gonzales, which could cost taxpayers up to $24,000 a month:
According to a person with knowledge of the case, the Justice Department has imposed a limit of $200 an hour or $24,000 a month on attorneys’ fees. Top Justice Department attorneys generally earn no more than $100 per hour. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.
Though “lawyers from the Justice Department’s civil division often represent department employees who’re sued in connection with their official actions,” Gonzales’ lawyer said that “private counsel can often be useful where (department) officials are sued in an individual capacity, even where the suit has no substantive merit.”