by Max Brantley
It's enough to be Karl Rove's stooge. But now comes a report that interim U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin might have puffed, or had puffed, his resume. The White House, after all, isn't much about the truth. Maybe Tim forgot to review the credentials that the Rovegang was sending out in his behalf and isn't responsible for what's reported below.
The 38-year-old Griffin claims on his official Web site that he prosecuted 40 criminal cases while at Ft. Campbell, where he was stationed from September 2005 to May 2006. But Army authorities say Ft. Campbell’s records show Griffin only serving as assistant trial counsel on three cases, none of which went to trial.
Griffin didn’t agree to be interviewed about his claim of 40 criminal prosecutions versus the Army’s confirmation of three cases, all of which were settled as plea bargains. But Cherith Beck, a Griffin spokeswoman, suggested that Griffin’s higher number might refer to all cases he worked on in any capacity.
And then comes Griffin's predecessor Bud Cummins, a loyal Republican foot soldier with a rare penchant in those troops for honesty.
Seeking to burnish Griffin’s prosecutorial credentials, his backers also have cited a letter of recommendation dated Aug. 13, 2002, from then-Little Rock U.S. Attorney H.E. “Bud” Cummins III praising Griffin’s nine months of work as one of his assistants.
On NBC’s “Meet the Press” last Sunday, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, a senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, hailed Griffin as “a person with prosecutorial experience who the attorney – who the U.S. Attorney who was going to be removed said was his right-hand man and one of the best prosecutors he had.”
In an e-mail to me, however, Cummins disputed Hatch’s characterization of the letter.
“I don’t see here where I referred to him as my ‘right arm,’” Cummins said. “I don’t know where they are getting that. Tim [Griffin] worked hard and did a good job organizing the launch of what became a very successful PSN [Project Safe Neighborhoods] program. But the great success was at least equally due, if not a great deal more, to the efforts of virtually every prosecutor in the office after his departure.”
In an earlier phone interview, Cummins told me he had no clear recollection of Griffin actually trying any case during his nine-month stint in Little Rock. “I honestly don’t remember,” Cummins said. “He may have tried one or two but nothing jumps out at me.”
It gets worse and worse.