Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Nothing to See Here

Attorneys say Ashcroft blocked inquiries into bank fraud case:

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft or his aides blocked investigators from probing U.S. Rep. Charles Taylor as part of a fraud case involving illegal loans by the bank Taylor chairs, defense attorneys say.

The accusations against Ashcroft came in a motion filed May 15 by attorneys W. Gene Sigmon and Forrest A. Ferrell, who represent Thomas W. Jones. Jones was convicted April 11 of supplying Blue Ridge Savings Bank with false information to obtain loans for Sylva car dealership owner Charles E. "Chig" Cagle, a Taylor political contributor and Republican activist.

Taylor press secretary Roger France on Wednesday referred a call seeking comment to bank representatives, who did not immediately return calls. Ashcroft and the Justice Department declined comment, spokesman Bryan Sierra said.

Cagle submitted forged documents to obtain $1.3 million in loans from the Asheville bank, where Taylor, R-N.C., is board chairman. Taylor, who founded the bank in 1978, has not been charged with any crime. He is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, which helps budget federal spending.

Move along citizen. Please turn your gaze to your wall monitor where pictures of glorious Dear Leader will inspire you.