Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

September 18, 2007


Host:

Paul Charlton


  • Former U.S. Attorney for Arizona Paul Charlton was one of the federal prosecutors fired by the Justice Department last year. HORIZON speaks to Charlton about what he believes factored in to his dismissal as well as the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
Guests:
  • Paul Charlton - Former U.S. Attorney


View Transcript
Richard Ruelas:
Tonight on "Horizon," Paul Charlton, former U.S. attorney, joins us to talk about being asked to resign last year by former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez. Also we continue our series of profiles from World War II with a look at Arizona's role and a look at World War II aviation. We Those stories next on "Horizon".

Announcer:
"Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the friends of 8, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Richard Ruelas:
Hello and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Richard Ruelas. State Representative Trish Groe is facing a La Paz County grand jury charge tonight. One count of aggravated DUI, a class-four felony. She is also facing a second count of false reporting. The charges originate from Groe's arrest in March. They say she was driving on a suspended license, cited for speeding. Her blood alcohol level was near extreme. If convicted, she faces fines and at least four months in jail. Now joining us is Paul Charlton, one of seven U.S. attorneys asked to resign by the U.S. Department of Administration in December. The motive is still shrouded in mystery. Performance-related issues were said to be behind the request, and others point to principled reasons, such as policy disputes over death penalty cases. Here to talk about this and other issues is Paul Charlton, former U.S. attorney. This is your first extended interview on these matters I guess.

Paul Charlton:
Yes.

Richard Ruelas:
Thank you. Did you watch Alberto Gonzalez's final day, final speech, does it still resonate with you?

Paul Charlton:
I didn't listen to his final speech. I of course followed, I watched very closely numerous appearances before the senate judiciary committee and paid close attention there.

Richard Ruelas:
Do you think it is good for the country that he is no longer the district attorney?

Paul Charlton:
I think it was right to step down. I think he recognized that it had become a very big distraction. The men and women who work in the 93 U.S. attorney's offices throughout the country are dedicated to doing one thing and that is the right thing. Instead, they were distracted by worrying what was going to come out in the paper the next day' it was a good thing for him to step down.

Richard Ruelas:
We mentioned in your intro that the reasons for your departure are still shrouded in mystery, partially. Do you know why you were asked to resign in do you have thoughts?

Paul Charlton:
I don't know. I think if you would have asked me that question in January or February I would have told you that I had understood and heard that it dealt with my disagreement with the former justice over a particular death penalty case and my disagreement with the F.B.I. over their failure to take confessions. As I have watched the testimony before the senate, as I have read the discovery the Department of Justice has given out, as I have been interviewed by the inspector general, I have now come to the conclusion that I don't know exactly why it is I was asked to resign.

Richard Ruelas:
So you almost had this story unravel or I guess reveal itself in the same manner that the general public has, as far as you're realizing what might be other reasons for your -- why you were asked to resign.

Paul Charlton:
That's right. I was asked to resign on December 7th and wasn't given a reason then. I had heard through others, second and third person why it is they thought I had been asked to resign, then as I said heard the testimony. But as I have looked at the conclusions and testimony that has been given, I think even the people within the Department of Justice were uncertain about why it is. There was one talk show host who called it the "immaculate termination" because nobody was willing to claim responsibility for putting my name or anyone else's name, for that matter, on the list of terminations.

Richard Ruelas:
Taking us back to that phone call, you said you weren't given a reason. You were just told -- how long does that phone call take?

Paul Charlton:
It is a very brief phone call. We would like you to resign, and we would like you to resign by the end of January. I understood when I moved from my position as a career prosecutor in the Department of Justice to the position of the United States attorney where I had served almost six years that I was leaving a protected position where I served at pleasure of the president. I knew then that if the president asks you to resign, you resign. That's what I did. Until individuals from the Department of Justice testified that they asked me and my colleagues to resign for performance reasons and we felt it was appropriate to respond.

Richard Ruelas:
I guess your resignation was is so routine, I was going through some of the old "Republic" clips, well not that old, I guess December of 2006, so routine for a U.S. attorney to announce his resignation. It seemed at the time that the story ran on like it ran on b-12 that day. In journalism, we call this a story having legs and why do you think the story ended up having legs and we're still talking about it today?

Paul Charlton:
I think the reputation at the Department of Justice has always been such that the institution's credibility was never called into question in a way it was as a result of what happened here. I have great affection for that department. I gave the greater part of my professional life to that department, and I believe and believe to this day that it is a department where people every single day get up in the morning knowing that what they get to do is the right thing. The individuals know that. It was the leadership build that suffered from a slightly different attitude. I think that is what captured the attention of the general public.

Richard Ruelas:
I think the general public still might be confused as to why this is important. You mentioned U.S. attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president, and it seems that they bring up all of the time that when President Clinton came into office, there was a general turnover of all U.S. attorneys. Why wasn't this different or why is it seen as different what happened here?

Paul Charlton:
When a new president comes into office, it is the practice, and has been for hundreds of years, that he and, maybe some day she, will ask the current holders of that office to resign. That's typically because a Democrat is taking over for a Republican or a Republican taking over from a Democrat. They ask those loyal party individuals to step down. What has never happened before according to congressional research is that a president in mid-term would ask his own appointees to step down. I think that was one part that was unusual about this process.

Richard Ruelas:
You mentioned politics playing a role; a Democrat president may get rid of Republican appointed prosecutors. Does politics play a role in when you are doing your job as U.S. attorney if you are doing it right?

Paul Charlton:
Politics should play a role to some degree. For example, if the president says "I want to do more gun crime prosecutions." Then, it is the U.S. attorney's job to salute and do more gun crime prosecutions.

Richard Ruelas:
Pornography was a big deal for some U.S. attorneys.

Paul Charlton:
Obscenity prosecution, you need to do more obscenity prosecution. If on the other hand the president said "I want you to prosecute more Democrats," it is up to you to say "I disagree with that policy" and it isn't a policy that agrees with justices ideals and to be able to say so.

Richard Ruelas:
I guess some of the original talk of why you left was possible performance. Did you think -- did you have any hint that you were not liked or were not given proper respect when you had the job as U.S. attorney?

Paul Charlton:
No, in fact, done well, won a number of different awards. The only time that I had really conflicted with the Department of Justice in a way that I felt -- well, I guess there were two instances. The F.B.I.'s failure to take confessions. I offered to resign because it was my opinion that the F.B.I.'s failure to take confessions was resulting in fewer convictions, especially in child sex abuse cases where the best evidence is the evidence that comes from the perpetrator's mouth, and the F.B.I.'s failure to tape those confessions meant we were not getting the best evidence; that was one instance when we crossed swords. The other in a death penalty case, lack of forensic evidence that tied the defendant to the victim, in fact we didn't have the body. It wasn't in my mind a death penalty appropriate case.

Richard Ruelas:
Knowing you were asked to resign, grasping for what maybe could have been the reason at the time. I mean, you were thinking maybe some death penalty issues, maybe some talk on the F.B.I., were you surprised when the "Washington Post" unearthed an email in the "you won't believe this department," Paul Charlton wants some of the attorney general's time. Did that strike you as a little disrespectful?

Paul Charlton:
That e-mail came about because I asked to speak with the attorney general personally on this death penalty issue. Under Attorney General John Ashcroft I had spoken with him. There is no decision more important in a prosecutor's career than whether or not to intentionally and methodically take another person's life. It was my opinion and his opinion that the attorney general should listen to all who have input on whether or not it is appropriate to kill another person. He wouldn't listen to me. I understood that. I thought that was unfortunate. But when I saw the advice that his chief of staff was giving him in the "you won't believe it category" that was all the more disappointing.

Richard Ruelas:
Since you don't have a conclusion, yourself, as to why you were asked to resign, as a former prosecutor, you want to be methodical and sort of look at all of the evidence. According to a March story of 2007 you were not on the original list of the U.S. attorneys that the administration wanted out that the administration sent out. But by the fall, you were. By the Fall you had also started an investigation into Rick Renzi. I guess we'll ask at this point. Had you started the investigation by the time you had made the list of prosecutors as far as you know?

Paul Charlton:
I don't know the start date of the investigation has become a matter of public record. The fact that we were looking at congressman Renzi is a matter of public record. I think it is important that I do not comment at all on that investigation since it is ongoing.

Richard Ruelas:
So even though stories have said fall of that year, you don't want to get into the timing of it all, whether it was even summer of that year or whether fall is an okay benchmark?

Paul Charlton:
What I have said and what I believe is that the inspector general has talked with me about that issue. He is doing, what I believe will be a thorough investigation, and that while I may not know the exact reason today for attorney general asking for my resignation, I will know some day, and I expect to live long enough and I'm patient enough to see what the results of the inspector general's report will be and we will know then about the timing in the Renzi investigation and whether or not that played a part. .

Richard Ruelas:
Away from your own case, and you're probably a little grateful for that, when you look at your colleagues who were asked to resign, they, again, seemed to be involved in either speeding up prosecutions of Democratic candidates or their involved like you were with Congressman Renzi in looking at a Republican congressman. New Mexico's case for example. Do you see a pattern with the other U.S. attorneys who were asked to resign along with you?

Paul Charlton:
There is a consistent thread among all of us. That is certainly through of David Eglesias in New Mexico, Carol Lamb, the prosecutor tried and successfully executed in California, John McKay in Washington State who had refused to go after the Democratic-elected governor. It is part of the common thread. It is something the inspector general will have to put his arms around, mull through and discern if that was the reason.

Richard Ruelas:
I guess common thread is something that I guess political pundits, commentators and editorial writers at newspapers, they can say, "Ha, the common thread is the reason, you're not ready, especially as a former prosecutor to say make a leap and say what that common thread is."

Paul Charlton:
I'm so close to this, too, I think it is best for me to let others come to those conclusions. I can provide the facts and we will let someone else decide exactly what happened.

Richard Ruelas:
Back to the idea of politics within the office. During his testimony, Kyle Sampson who was the chief of staff, political and performance related reasons, removing a U.S. attorney is largely artificial. I guess I would ask your thoughts on that. We have discussed how politics can play a role on what cases to pursue, but do you see a difference on performance and politics?

Paul Charlton:
The issues that they pointed to dealt neither with politics or performance in my mind. They were issues in which I followed the dictates of my conscience. Whether or not to seek to kill someone is an issue that goes beyond simple legal matters, goes beyond how you will live with yourself years later. The quality of evidence you bring to the court before you seek the ultimate penalty is one that everyone should be very careful in considerating. Whether or not to tape confessions, I think that is an issue that benefits both those individuals who are being taped so as to protect their rights and their victims so we know what was said by the defendant when he was interviewed is something that I think any career prosecutors someone like me would understand the benefits of. We do it in the city of Phoenix, we even do that in the city of Eloy; the F.B.I. is the only federal agency that discourages it. In my mind, were you given the opportunity to go back and make those decisions again, I would make them in exactly the same way.

Richard Ruelas:
You also-- After some of the discussion of performance-related, you started speaking out for the first time. You seem to be a fairly good soldier as far as resigning and keeping quiet, even though some e-mails show you had thoughts about why you might have been asked to leave. Why did you finally decide to speak, after you did, when you did after the performance-related issues came your way.

Paul Charlton:
Just for those reasons. When they indicated these were performance related, and I think I know what they are, and as broadly they attempted to define them, they didn't fit in with the issues I had with the Department of Justice or that I had with the Department of Justice and at that time they exhibited what they thought were the reasons, which I think was a lack of loyalty to their former U.S. attorneys, and I think it was my responsibility then to stand up and say well, this is exactly what happened because it was our reputation and my reputation on the line at that point in time.

Richard Ruelas:
We have a few seconds left. I just wanted to get your thoughts on the new guy, Michael Mukasey as the attorney general.

Paul Charlton:
I think it is a very good choice and in the universe of individuals that you can pick, in which President Bush would agree with Senator Charles Schumar, there will be very few people or individuals who have such excellent credentials. I think that is somebody that we should be glad that is willing to step up and take this job.

Richard Ruelas:
Thank you very much for joining us. Paul Charlton, thank you. They came to Arizona for the weather, but these are snowbirds of a different feather. Tonight we continue our series of "Profiles from World War II" by meeting some of the men right who earned their wings here in the Grand Canyon state.

David Majure:
In the early 1940's, Arizona was under attack. We were bombed, buzzed --

Steve Hoza:
A lot of good buzzing.

David Majure:
And blown to bits.

Steve Hoza:
They would even shoot at the cows.

David Majure:
Lucky for us humans it was all friendly fire, part of the grand canyon state's massive effort to train pilots and their crews for World War II.

General Walter Douglass:
Arizona during World War II I like to think of it as one massive air field. We had 68 air fields in the state, and some of these were among the largest in the world.

David Majure:
They were there to save the world by producing pilots as fast as possible for the United States and its Chinese and British allies.

Steve Hoza:
Because of our good year-round flying weather and thousands of square miles of relatively flat, unpopulated land, made it ideal for not only flight training, but gunnery training, bombardier training. Every base had a yearbook, you know just like a high school does.

David Majure:
Steve Hoza is a member of the civil air patrol who collects yearbooks and other memorabilia from Arizona's World War II air fields. Most of the bases specialized in one of three phases of flight training, primary, basic or advanced.

Steve Hoza:
For instance, Luke army air field which is today Luke Air Force Base was the largest single engine advanced school in the world. Morana, the army air field near Tucson was the largest basic flying school.

David Majure:
Kingman was one of the largest aerial gunnery schools. That is where Steve's dad was a --

Steve Hoza:
You had to learn how to tear down a caliber 50 machine gun and put it back together blind-folded.

David Majure:
After graduated, he stayed on as an instructor, teaching young gunners how to operate the top turret on a b-17.

Steve Hoza:
A B-17 was an excellent aircraft. Being around it day in and day out you just begin to love that airplane.

David Majure:
Few people love airplanes more than the pilots who fly them.

General Walter Douglass:
We were to fly out and back --

David Majure:
General Walter Douglass was a World War II fighter pilot, but earlier in his career he worked in the control tower. He was there when the first plane landed at Luke and when he watched the first class graduate and get their wings, Douglass knew he had to do the same

General Walter Douglass:
It was my ambition, a goal; I wasn't going to be satisfied being an enlisted man. I wanted to be a pilot.

David Majure:
He left for flight school but returned to Luke in 1943.

General Walter Douglass:
Finished off my nine months training, advanced training it was, in the at-6, and the last ten hours in the war hawk, the P-40.

David Majure:
Training pilots was a huge job. The military couldn't do it alone so it hired private flight schools to help out. Southwest Airways was one of them. It ran the Thunderbird airfields, in Glendale and Scottsdale and it operated Mesa's Falcon Field, where at the age of 21 civilian pilot Horace Griffin applied for a job.

Horace Griffin:
I went down for an interview and was hired. On august first, 1943, I became a flight instructor at Falcon Field teaching British cadets how to fly primary.

David Majure:
War in Europe made it difficult to train pilots in the U.K. so America stepped up and Arizona helped out teaching British pilots all three phases of flight training at Falcon Field.

Horace Griffin:
It was interesting mainly because most of them had never even driven a car. I remember one day I had a cadet that I was teaching how to taxi. And he almost ran into the wind tee and I said, "Would you have stubbed on that if you had been driving a car? I have never driven a car." There were a lot of laughs along with a lot of other things. Like accidents --

Reverend Jack May:
The most was when I was taxiing too fast, and I put on the brakes, and up went the tail and down went the nose. I had to sit there and wait until they pulled the tail back down having done quite a bit of damage to the prop.

David Majure:
Some accidents were more severe.

Reverend Jack May:
England, if they --

David Majure:
Each year a remembrance is held at the cemetery for 23 British cadets who lost their lives while training at falcon field. Other bases had their share of tragedies and mishaps as well like trying to land a 360 without landing gear.

Horace Griffin:
Did a 360, jumped out, and the fire trucks were coming. I lit up a cigarette. And the fireman came over and said put that cigarette out. You will blow all of us up! It was at that time you wanted a cigarette.

David Majure:
Nighttime was a good time to fix broken airplanes, and often that was a job for women. Many bases hired female mechanics to keep their airplanes in top shape when flying over Arizona. The state provided conditions for flying except for maybe the heat that could cook about anything. There was also the occasional monsoon.

Horace Griffin:
And it rolled in and then it hit us, dust and everything, and a drenching rainstorm, and the next morning I went up to falcon to go to work to go fly on that next day, and here were five or six piles of airplanes all over the east side of the -- the west side of the field. Clear over in the citrus grove. Four or five plans in each pile.

David Majure:
Bad weather was an exception for the rule, and for kids flying these machines, the rules were meant to be broken.

John Hoza:
Our air-to-ground firing, the students would just love to find anything that moved on the ground, and if there were some cattle happened to stray on to the range, they would even shoot at the cows. That was also not regulation.

David Majure:
Nor was the practice of buzzing cactus. Behind the White Tank Mountains out of the view of Luke's control tower.

General Walter Douglass:
Then one day some cadet came back with cactus in his nose, so -- but that was a lot of fun. We did a lot of good buzzing.

David Majure:
Young cadets were always looking for ways to blow off steam. In the air, on the ground, and in the water.

Bill McCash:
It was a ritual. And when you did your first solo, as a steer man, oh, yes, into the pool you went, uniform and all, you know.

David Majure:
Many of the bases had swimming pools and other forms of recreation. They were like self-contained cities, providing entertainment, shopping, food, and just about anything else a young man could desire.

General Walter Douglass:
Girls come up and meet us in the cadet club, and so we had a little fraternization there.

John Hoza:
You could get a pass to go into Kingman, but there was nothing to do there but go to the bars and the movies, and you could go to the movies much cheaper on base than you could in Kingman.

Horace Griffin:
I look back on those years now and have a lot of memories about them and I am glad I survived them.

David Majure:
Some of the air fields have also survived as active military bases or municipal airports. Others disappearing into the desert. They did their job, mission accomplished.

David Majure:
If you look up the definition of bravery, you might find a picture of Sylvestre Herrera. One of Arizona's own, he received the Medal of Honor for his courage and heroism during World War II. Join us for the story of this man who despite serious personal injury never stopped fighting for his country. That's Wednesday at 7:00 on "Horizon."

Richard Ruelas:
Thanks for joining us on this Tuesday evening. I'm Richard Ruelas. For all of us here in "Horizon," good night.

Profiles from WWII: Arizona WWII Military Aviation


  • Arizona’s weather and wide-open spaces made it an excellent place to train American, British and Chinese pilots during World War II. The state was home to dozens of air fields, some of them among the largest in the world. Former flight instructors and cadets talk about their experiences in the Grand Canyon State.
Guests:
  • Paul Charlton - Former U.S. Attorney
Category: Law

View Transcript
Richard Ruelas:
Tonight on "Horizon," Paul Charlton, former U.S. attorney, joins us to talk about being asked to resign last year by former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez. Also we continue our series of profiles from World War II with a look at Arizona's role and a look at World War II aviation. We Those stories next on "Horizon".

Announcer:
"Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the friends of 8, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Richard Ruelas:
Hello and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Richard Ruelas. State Representative Trish Groe is facing a La Paz County grand jury charge tonight. One count of aggravated DUI, a class-four felony. She is also facing a second count of false reporting. The charges originate from Groe's arrest in March. They say she was driving on a suspended license, cited for speeding. Her blood alcohol level was near extreme. If convicted, she faces fines and at least four months in jail. Now joining us is Paul Charlton, one of seven U.S. attorneys asked to resign by the U.S. Department of Administration in December. The motive is still shrouded in mystery. Performance-related issues were said to be behind the request, and others point to principled reasons, such as policy disputes over death penalty cases. Here to talk about this and other issues is Paul Charlton, former U.S. attorney. This is your first extended interview on these matters I guess.

Paul Charlton:
Yes.

Richard Ruelas:
Thank you. Did you watch Alberto Gonzalez's final day, final speech, does it still resonate with you?

Paul Charlton:
I didn't listen to his final speech. I of course followed, I watched very closely numerous appearances before the senate judiciary committee and paid close attention there.

Richard Ruelas:
Do you think it is good for the country that he is no longer the district attorney?

Paul Charlton:
I think it was right to step down. I think he recognized that it had become a very big distraction. The men and women who work in the 93 U.S. attorney's offices throughout the country are dedicated to doing one thing and that is the right thing. Instead, they were distracted by worrying what was going to come out in the paper the next day' it was a good thing for him to step down.

Richard Ruelas:
We mentioned in your intro that the reasons for your departure are still shrouded in mystery, partially. Do you know why you were asked to resign in do you have thoughts?

Paul Charlton:
I don't know. I think if you would have asked me that question in January or February I would have told you that I had understood and heard that it dealt with my disagreement with the former justice over a particular death penalty case and my disagreement with the F.B.I. over their failure to take confessions. As I have watched the testimony before the senate, as I have read the discovery the Department of Justice has given out, as I have been interviewed by the inspector general, I have now come to the conclusion that I don't know exactly why it is I was asked to resign.

Richard Ruelas:
So you almost had this story unravel or I guess reveal itself in the same manner that the general public has, as far as you're realizing what might be other reasons for your -- why you were asked to resign.

Paul Charlton:
That's right. I was asked to resign on December 7th and wasn't given a reason then. I had heard through others, second and third person why it is they thought I had been asked to resign, then as I said heard the testimony. But as I have looked at the conclusions and testimony that has been given, I think even the people within the Department of Justice were uncertain about why it is. There was one talk show host who called it the "immaculate termination" because nobody was willing to claim responsibility for putting my name or anyone else's name, for that matter, on the list of terminations.

Richard Ruelas:
Taking us back to that phone call, you said you weren't given a reason. You were just told -- how long does that phone call take?

Paul Charlton:
It is a very brief phone call. We would like you to resign, and we would like you to resign by the end of January. I understood when I moved from my position as a career prosecutor in the Department of Justice to the position of the United States attorney where I had served almost six years that I was leaving a protected position where I served at pleasure of the president. I knew then that if the president asks you to resign, you resign. That's what I did. Until individuals from the Department of Justice testified that they asked me and my colleagues to resign for performance reasons and we felt it was appropriate to respond.

Richard Ruelas:
I guess your resignation was is so routine, I was going through some of the old "Republic" clips, well not that old, I guess December of 2006, so routine for a U.S. attorney to announce his resignation. It seemed at the time that the story ran on like it ran on b-12 that day. In journalism, we call this a story having legs and why do you think the story ended up having legs and we're still talking about it today?

Paul Charlton:
I think the reputation at the Department of Justice has always been such that the institution's credibility was never called into question in a way it was as a result of what happened here. I have great affection for that department. I gave the greater part of my professional life to that department, and I believe and believe to this day that it is a department where people every single day get up in the morning knowing that what they get to do is the right thing. The individuals know that. It was the leadership build that suffered from a slightly different attitude. I think that is what captured the attention of the general public.

Richard Ruelas:
I think the general public still might be confused as to why this is important. You mentioned U.S. attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president, and it seems that they bring up all of the time that when President Clinton came into office, there was a general turnover of all U.S. attorneys. Why wasn't this different or why is it seen as different what happened here?

Paul Charlton:
When a new president comes into office, it is the practice, and has been for hundreds of years, that he and, maybe some day she, will ask the current holders of that office to resign. That's typically because a Democrat is taking over for a Republican or a Republican taking over from a Democrat. They ask those loyal party individuals to step down. What has never happened before according to congressional research is that a president in mid-term would ask his own appointees to step down. I think that was one part that was unusual about this process.

Richard Ruelas:
You mentioned politics playing a role; a Democrat president may get rid of Republican appointed prosecutors. Does politics play a role in when you are doing your job as U.S. attorney if you are doing it right?

Paul Charlton:
Politics should play a role to some degree. For example, if the president says "I want to do more gun crime prosecutions." Then, it is the U.S. attorney's job to salute and do more gun crime prosecutions.

Richard Ruelas:
Pornography was a big deal for some U.S. attorneys.

Paul Charlton:
Obscenity prosecution, you need to do more obscenity prosecution. If on the other hand the president said "I want you to prosecute more Democrats," it is up to you to say "I disagree with that policy" and it isn't a policy that agrees with justices ideals and to be able to say so.

Richard Ruelas:
I guess some of the original talk of why you left was possible performance. Did you think -- did you have any hint that you were not liked or were not given proper respect when you had the job as U.S. attorney?

Paul Charlton:
No, in fact, done well, won a number of different awards. The only time that I had really conflicted with the Department of Justice in a way that I felt -- well, I guess there were two instances. The F.B.I.'s failure to take confessions. I offered to resign because it was my opinion that the F.B.I.'s failure to take confessions was resulting in fewer convictions, especially in child sex abuse cases where the best evidence is the evidence that comes from the perpetrator's mouth, and the F.B.I.'s failure to tape those confessions meant we were not getting the best evidence; that was one instance when we crossed swords. The other in a death penalty case, lack of forensic evidence that tied the defendant to the victim, in fact we didn't have the body. It wasn't in my mind a death penalty appropriate case.

Richard Ruelas:
Knowing you were asked to resign, grasping for what maybe could have been the reason at the time. I mean, you were thinking maybe some death penalty issues, maybe some talk on the F.B.I., were you surprised when the "Washington Post" unearthed an email in the "you won't believe this department," Paul Charlton wants some of the attorney general's time. Did that strike you as a little disrespectful?

Paul Charlton:
That e-mail came about because I asked to speak with the attorney general personally on this death penalty issue. Under Attorney General John Ashcroft I had spoken with him. There is no decision more important in a prosecutor's career than whether or not to intentionally and methodically take another person's life. It was my opinion and his opinion that the attorney general should listen to all who have input on whether or not it is appropriate to kill another person. He wouldn't listen to me. I understood that. I thought that was unfortunate. But when I saw the advice that his chief of staff was giving him in the "you won't believe it category" that was all the more disappointing.

Richard Ruelas:
Since you don't have a conclusion, yourself, as to why you were asked to resign, as a former prosecutor, you want to be methodical and sort of look at all of the evidence. According to a March story of 2007 you were not on the original list of the U.S. attorneys that the administration wanted out that the administration sent out. But by the fall, you were. By the Fall you had also started an investigation into Rick Renzi. I guess we'll ask at this point. Had you started the investigation by the time you had made the list of prosecutors as far as you know?

Paul Charlton:
I don't know the start date of the investigation has become a matter of public record. The fact that we were looking at congressman Renzi is a matter of public record. I think it is important that I do not comment at all on that investigation since it is ongoing.

Richard Ruelas:
So even though stories have said fall of that year, you don't want to get into the timing of it all, whether it was even summer of that year or whether fall is an okay benchmark?

Paul Charlton:
What I have said and what I believe is that the inspector general has talked with me about that issue. He is doing, what I believe will be a thorough investigation, and that while I may not know the exact reason today for attorney general asking for my resignation, I will know some day, and I expect to live long enough and I'm patient enough to see what the results of the inspector general's report will be and we will know then about the timing in the Renzi investigation and whether or not that played a part. .

Richard Ruelas:
Away from your own case, and you're probably a little grateful for that, when you look at your colleagues who were asked to resign, they, again, seemed to be involved in either speeding up prosecutions of Democratic candidates or their involved like you were with Congressman Renzi in looking at a Republican congressman. New Mexico's case for example. Do you see a pattern with the other U.S. attorneys who were asked to resign along with you?

Paul Charlton:
There is a consistent thread among all of us. That is certainly through of David Eglesias in New Mexico, Carol Lamb, the prosecutor tried and successfully executed in California, John McKay in Washington State who had refused to go after the Democratic-elected governor. It is part of the common thread. It is something the inspector general will have to put his arms around, mull through and discern if that was the reason.

Richard Ruelas:
I guess common thread is something that I guess political pundits, commentators and editorial writers at newspapers, they can say, "Ha, the common thread is the reason, you're not ready, especially as a former prosecutor to say make a leap and say what that common thread is."

Paul Charlton:
I'm so close to this, too, I think it is best for me to let others come to those conclusions. I can provide the facts and we will let someone else decide exactly what happened.

Richard Ruelas:
Back to the idea of politics within the office. During his testimony, Kyle Sampson who was the chief of staff, political and performance related reasons, removing a U.S. attorney is largely artificial. I guess I would ask your thoughts on that. We have discussed how politics can play a role on what cases to pursue, but do you see a difference on performance and politics?

Paul Charlton:
The issues that they pointed to dealt neither with politics or performance in my mind. They were issues in which I followed the dictates of my conscience. Whether or not to seek to kill someone is an issue that goes beyond simple legal matters, goes beyond how you will live with yourself years later. The quality of evidence you bring to the court before you seek the ultimate penalty is one that everyone should be very careful in considerating. Whether or not to tape confessions, I think that is an issue that benefits both those individuals who are being taped so as to protect their rights and their victims so we know what was said by the defendant when he was interviewed is something that I think any career prosecutors someone like me would understand the benefits of. We do it in the city of Phoenix, we even do that in the city of Eloy; the F.B.I. is the only federal agency that discourages it. In my mind, were you given the opportunity to go back and make those decisions again, I would make them in exactly the same way.

Richard Ruelas:
You also-- After some of the discussion of performance-related, you started speaking out for the first time. You seem to be a fairly good soldier as far as resigning and keeping quiet, even though some e-mails show you had thoughts about why you might have been asked to leave. Why did you finally decide to speak, after you did, when you did after the performance-related issues came your way.

Paul Charlton:
Just for those reasons. When they indicated these were performance related, and I think I know what they are, and as broadly they attempted to define them, they didn't fit in with the issues I had with the Department of Justice or that I had with the Department of Justice and at that time they exhibited what they thought were the reasons, which I think was a lack of loyalty to their former U.S. attorneys, and I think it was my responsibility then to stand up and say well, this is exactly what happened because it was our reputation and my reputation on the line at that point in time.

Richard Ruelas:
We have a few seconds left. I just wanted to get your thoughts on the new guy, Michael Mukasey as the attorney general.

Paul Charlton:
I think it is a very good choice and in the universe of individuals that you can pick, in which President Bush would agree with Senator Charles Schumar, there will be very few people or individuals who have such excellent credentials. I think that is somebody that we should be glad that is willing to step up and take this job.

Richard Ruelas:
Thank you very much for joining us. Paul Charlton, thank you. They came to Arizona for the weather, but these are snowbirds of a different feather. Tonight we continue our series of "Profiles from World War II" by meeting some of the men right who earned their wings here in the Grand Canyon state.

David Majure:
In the early 1940's, Arizona was under attack. We were bombed, buzzed --

Steve Hoza:
A lot of good buzzing.

David Majure:
And blown to bits.

Steve Hoza:
They would even shoot at the cows.

David Majure:
Lucky for us humans it was all friendly fire, part of the grand canyon state's massive effort to train pilots and their crews for World War II.

General Walter Douglass:
Arizona during World War II I like to think of it as one massive air field. We had 68 air fields in the state, and some of these were among the largest in the world.

David Majure:
They were there to save the world by producing pilots as fast as possible for the United States and its Chinese and British allies.

Steve Hoza:
Because of our good year-round flying weather and thousands of square miles of relatively flat, unpopulated land, made it ideal for not only flight training, but gunnery training, bombardier training. Every base had a yearbook, you know just like a high school does.

David Majure:
Steve Hoza is a member of the civil air patrol who collects yearbooks and other memorabilia from Arizona's World War II air fields. Most of the bases specialized in one of three phases of flight training, primary, basic or advanced.

Steve Hoza:
For instance, Luke army air field which is today Luke Air Force Base was the largest single engine advanced school in the world. Morana, the army air field near Tucson was the largest basic flying school.

David Majure:
Kingman was one of the largest aerial gunnery schools. That is where Steve's dad was a --

Steve Hoza:
You had to learn how to tear down a caliber 50 machine gun and put it back together blind-folded.

David Majure:
After graduated, he stayed on as an instructor, teaching young gunners how to operate the top turret on a b-17.

Steve Hoza:
A B-17 was an excellent aircraft. Being around it day in and day out you just begin to love that airplane.

David Majure:
Few people love airplanes more than the pilots who fly them.

General Walter Douglass:
We were to fly out and back --

David Majure:
General Walter Douglass was a World War II fighter pilot, but earlier in his career he worked in the control tower. He was there when the first plane landed at Luke and when he watched the first class graduate and get their wings, Douglass knew he had to do the same

General Walter Douglass:
It was my ambition, a goal; I wasn't going to be satisfied being an enlisted man. I wanted to be a pilot.

David Majure:
He left for flight school but returned to Luke in 1943.

General Walter Douglass:
Finished off my nine months training, advanced training it was, in the at-6, and the last ten hours in the war hawk, the P-40.

David Majure:
Training pilots was a huge job. The military couldn't do it alone so it hired private flight schools to help out. Southwest Airways was one of them. It ran the Thunderbird airfields, in Glendale and Scottsdale and it operated Mesa's Falcon Field, where at the age of 21 civilian pilot Horace Griffin applied for a job.

Horace Griffin:
I went down for an interview and was hired. On august first, 1943, I became a flight instructor at Falcon Field teaching British cadets how to fly primary.

David Majure:
War in Europe made it difficult to train pilots in the U.K. so America stepped up and Arizona helped out teaching British pilots all three phases of flight training at Falcon Field.

Horace Griffin:
It was interesting mainly because most of them had never even driven a car. I remember one day I had a cadet that I was teaching how to taxi. And he almost ran into the wind tee and I said, "Would you have stubbed on that if you had been driving a car? I have never driven a car." There were a lot of laughs along with a lot of other things. Like accidents --

Reverend Jack May:
The most was when I was taxiing too fast, and I put on the brakes, and up went the tail and down went the nose. I had to sit there and wait until they pulled the tail back down having done quite a bit of damage to the prop.

David Majure:
Some accidents were more severe.

Reverend Jack May:
England, if they --

David Majure:
Each year a remembrance is held at the cemetery for 23 British cadets who lost their lives while training at falcon field. Other bases had their share of tragedies and mishaps as well like trying to land a 360 without landing gear.

Horace Griffin:
Did a 360, jumped out, and the fire trucks were coming. I lit up a cigarette. And the fireman came over and said put that cigarette out. You will blow all of us up! It was at that time you wanted a cigarette.

David Majure:
Nighttime was a good time to fix broken airplanes, and often that was a job for women. Many bases hired female mechanics to keep their airplanes in top shape when flying over Arizona. The state provided conditions for flying except for maybe the heat that could cook about anything. There was also the occasional monsoon.

Horace Griffin:
And it rolled in and then it hit us, dust and everything, and a drenching rainstorm, and the next morning I went up to falcon to go to work to go fly on that next day, and here were five or six piles of airplanes all over the east side of the -- the west side of the field. Clear over in the citrus grove. Four or five plans in each pile.

David Majure:
Bad weather was an exception for the rule, and for kids flying these machines, the rules were meant to be broken.

John Hoza:
Our air-to-ground firing, the students would just love to find anything that moved on the ground, and if there were some cattle happened to stray on to the range, they would even shoot at the cows. That was also not regulation.

David Majure:
Nor was the practice of buzzing cactus. Behind the White Tank Mountains out of the view of Luke's control tower.

General Walter Douglass:
Then one day some cadet came back with cactus in his nose, so -- but that was a lot of fun. We did a lot of good buzzing.

David Majure:
Young cadets were always looking for ways to blow off steam. In the air, on the ground, and in the water.

Bill McCash:
It was a ritual. And when you did your first solo, as a steer man, oh, yes, into the pool you went, uniform and all, you know.

David Majure:
Many of the bases had swimming pools and other forms of recreation. They were like self-contained cities, providing entertainment, shopping, food, and just about anything else a young man could desire.

General Walter Douglass:
Girls come up and meet us in the cadet club, and so we had a little fraternization there.

John Hoza:
You could get a pass to go into Kingman, but there was nothing to do there but go to the bars and the movies, and you could go to the movies much cheaper on base than you could in Kingman.

Horace Griffin:
I look back on those years now and have a lot of memories about them and I am glad I survived them.

David Majure:
Some of the air fields have also survived as active military bases or municipal airports. Others disappearing into the desert. They did their job, mission accomplished.

David Majure:
If you look up the definition of bravery, you might find a picture of Sylvestre Herrera. One of Arizona's own, he received the Medal of Honor for his courage and heroism during World War II. Join us for the story of this man who despite serious personal injury never stopped fighting for his country. That's Wednesday at 7:00 on "Horizon."

Richard Ruelas:
Thanks for joining us on this Tuesday evening. I'm Richard Ruelas. For all of us here in "Horizon," good night.

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