This past weekend, former U.S. Attorney John McKay of Seattle took a fresh swipe at the Justice Department. McKay was a speaker at the Thomas C. Wales Foundation annual dinner and awards ceremony. Wales is the federal prosecutor who was murdered in his home in 2001. The case is unresolved.
I was emcee for the event. McKay reminded the audience that several reasons have been given for his dismissal late last year, and he's been able to laugh at most of them – except for one. Here's what McKay said:
The one that wasn't funny was when I was accused of pursuing too aggressively the killer of Tom Wales. And I want to tell you – and this is the first time that I've had an opportunity to say so publicly, and I thought today was the time that I should do it – is to say that that day I didn't laugh, I cried.
And I e-mailed my seven colleagues, former United State attorneys, and I told them that this was the only day that I was sorry I ever worked for the Justice Department. Now I got over that. I think I got over it the next day, but I thought that what was said was totally wrong, totally disrespectful and unacceptable to this community. I won't even mention what I felt it meant to the Wales family and to those that love Tom Wales.
But if it was an indication of the lack of respect among some at the Justice Department, it couldn't have been done with a greater exclamation point than their final reason for my dismissal.
I would like you all to know that I am more concerned about having the respect of Chief Judge Robert Lasnik and the judges of the United States District Court, of my friend Jeff Sullivan who will do a tremendous job as United State Attorney, and my former colleagues who work here in the United State Attorney's office in Seattle and in Tacoma.
So if standing up for doing the right thing cost me my job as United States Attorney, I consider that a small price to pay for my integrity.
McKay received a standing ovation from the audience of about 300 guests.
You can watch McKay's speech on TVW's Web site.