Lawsuit threat brings job backlash | Arkansas Blog

Monday, April 30, 2007

Lawsuit threat brings job backlash

Posted By on Mon, Apr 30, 2007 at 10:58 AM

Stop the presses. We have kind words to offer for Tim Griffin, interim U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

 

Griffin, whose appointment has been the subject of political controversy, will announce today that he has replaced Robert Govar as chief of the criminal division of his office. He’ll be succeeded by Pat Harris, a veteran Justice Department employee.

 

The replacement appears to be a speedy reaction to the news reported here Saturday – that Govar had sent a threatening e-mail to Garrick Feldman, editor and publisher of the Leader newspaper in Jacksonville, over a column Feldman had written about Govar’s testimony in the prosecution of former Lonoke police chief Jay Campbell. Feldman’s column was skeptical about Govar’s testimony that he wasn’t aware he was the beneficiary of prohibited inmate labor on a work crew Campbell had provided for labor on Govar’s property. After the column appeared, Govar wrote Feldman an e-mail on the U.S. attorney’s mail system, during the work day, threatening to sue Feldman for $50 million in damages. He identified himself as chief of the criminal division of the office.

 

Feldman believed – correctly we think – that his column was not libelous and that Govar’s response was meant to intimidate him. We reported Saturday that Feldman had been unhappy with Griffin’s initial response to a complaint about Govar’s note. Feldman said Griffin had said Govar had written as a private individual. But Feldman followed up with another note to Griffin Saturday evening. Since then, Griffin reportedly has arranged a meeting with Feldman (Griffin referred questions about that to Feldman) and also moved swiftly this morning to replace Govar in the top criminal job. It was a situation that didn’t need to fester and it didn’t. Feldman today is quite happy with Griffin's response.

 

Griffin said he could not comment on the reasons for personnel actions. But he added: “Mr. Govar’s e-mail that he sent Friday was without my authorization or notification. Although he did send it on Justice Department e-mail, on Justice Department time, he did not speak for this office. Obviously he was discussing potentially a private lawsuit. Needless to say he did not speak for the U.S. attorney in that matter.”

 

Griffin declined to answer questions about whether there might be further personnel action or whether he believed Govar’s testimony in the Lonoke case, which led to Campbell’s conviction. “I have no comment on his testimony,” he said. “All I know is what I read in the newspapers.”

 

Griffin said he appreciated Govar’s hard work over 30 years and “he’s going to resume trying cases.”

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (9)

Showing 1-9 of 9

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-9 of 9

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • IHOP coming down, but .....

    I always scan the Little Rock City Board for items of interest this week and this one caught my eye: A zoning measure required by a proposal to tear down the IHOP at Markham and University.
    • Apr 30, 2016
  • Payday lenders on the march at legislature

    Payday lenders are working hard to get legislative cover for the reintroduction of their usurious loan business to Arkansas. Some are fighting back.
    • Mar 10, 2017
  • John Goodson and others add lawyers for hearing on forum shopping

    Lawyers facing federal court sanctions for forum shopping a class action insurance case have brought in new legal guns from out of state to fight potential sanctions.
    • May 26, 2016

Most Shared

  • Conflicts of interest in the legislatures

    The Center for Public Integrity and the Associated Press collaborated for a project aimed at highlighting state legislators whose lawmaking might be affected by private business interests.
  • Industrial hemp pilot program coming soon to Arkansas

    One of the booths at this week's Ark-La-Tex Medical Cannabis Expo was hosted by the Arkansas Hemp Association, a trade group founded to promote and expand non-intoxicating industrial hemp as an agricultural crop in the state. AHA Vice President Jeremy Fisher said the first licenses to grow experimental plots of hemp in the state should be issued by the Arkansas State Plant Board next spring.
  • Cats and dogs

    I've always been leery of people who dislike animals. To my wife and me, a house without dog hair in the corners and a cat perched on the windowsill is as barren as a highway rest stop. We're down to three dogs and two cats, the smallest menagerie we've had for years.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation