Justice Department Official Resigns
WSPA Channel 7/AP
June 29, 2007

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Justice Department official who was eyed as a possible replacement for one of several fired U.S. attorneys announced her resignation Friday.

Rachel Brand, the assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Policy, will step down July 9, the department said in a statement. The statement did not give a reason for her departure, but Brand is expecting a baby soon.

Brand was a member of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' leadership team. When officials were planning to fire U.S. attorneys in San Diego, San Francisco, Michigan and Arkansas, Brand was named as a possible replacement for Margaret Chiari in Michigan, according to documents released as part of a congressional inquiry.

The firings have led to congressional investigations, an internal Justice Department probe and calls from Capitol Hill for the resignation of Gonzales.

Brand previously served as associate counsel to President Bush and helped shepherd Supreme Court Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito through Senate confirmation.

"Her considerable knowledge of legal policy is rivaled only by her passion for the issues and projects on which she worked during her tenure here at the department," Gonzales said in a statement. "I will miss her significant contributions as an adviser to me."

Brand recently testified before the House Judiciary Committee about the Justice Department's opposition to a bill that would shield reporters from being forced by prosecutors to reveal their sources.

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