Reno's Staff To Recommend Against Herman Special Prosecutor
From CNN Justice Department Correspondent Pierre Thomas
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Mar. 7) -- Justice Department officials will likely recommend to Attorney General Janet Reno that she not name an independent counsel to investigate Labor Secretary Alexis Herman, CNN has learned.
Senior federal law enforcement officials say there is a "growing consensus" against appointing an independent counsel to look into charges that Herman accepted cash bribes while she worked at the White House, prior to becoming labor secretary.
Reno is expected to get the official report from her staff early next week. Although not final, sources say the report is unlikely to recommend that Reno seek appointment of an independent counsel in the Herman case.
Reno has until mid-week to make a final decision. However, she usually follows her staff's recommendations.
The allegations against Herman were raised by Laurent Yene, a consultant who was in business with Herman's close friend, Vanessa Weaver.
Yene says he gave Herman money -- in one instance, cash in an envelope -- in return for her influence, including helping someone secure an FCC license for a satellite telephone system.
At the time, Herman was head of the White House's public liaison office. She was a protégé of the late Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, having served as his top aide at the Democratic National Committee before coming to the White House.
Law enforcement sources have told CNN Yene's story has credibility problems, but the Justice Department had no choice but to investigate because his allegations were so serious.
Herman has denied the charges. Her supporters say Yene is seeking revenge and money because he is angry over a business and personal relationship that soured with Weaver.