David Iglesias (attorney)

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David Iglesias
David Iglesias.jpg
Official Justice Department photo
Born David Claudio Iglesias
Panama City, Panama
Nationality American
Education Wheaton College (Illinois), University of New Mexico School of Law
Occupation Attorney

David Claudio Iglesias (born 1958) is an American attorney from Albuquerque, New Mexico.[1][2]

He was appointed by President George W. Bush as the United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico in August 2001 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in October 2001.[2] He served for 6 years. He was one of eight U.S. attorneys fired by the Bush administration in 2006 for "performance-related issues." (see Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy). All U.S. Attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president. Iglesias had received a positive performance review before he was fired. A review of the matter released by the US Department of Justice Inspector General in October 2008 found that his firing had been politically motivated.[3]

Allen Weh, chairman of the New Mexico Republican Party, complained in 2005 about then-U.S. Attorney Iglesias to a White House aide for Karl Rove, asking that Iglesias be removed. Weh was dissatisfied with Iglesias due in part to his failure to indict New Mexico State Senator Manny Aragon on fraud and conspiracy charges. Iglesias claimed in his testimony before Congress in March 2007 that Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., and Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M. both made calls urging him to rush indictments against Aragon prior to Election Day in November, 2006, even though Aragon was running unopposed in the election. [1]. Three weeks after Iglesias was dismissed, his replacement, Acting U.S. Attorney Larry Gomez brought a 26 count felony indictment against Aragon. In a plea bargain, Aragon pled guilty to three felony fraud counts. Weh followed up with, "There’s nothing we’ve done that's wrong. It wasn’t that Iglesias wasn’t looking out for Republicans. He just wasn’t doing his job, period.”[4]

On January 22, 2009, as a member of the US Naval Reserve Judge Advocate General's Corps, Iglesias was reactivated as part of a special prosecution team for Guantanamo detainees. Asked on KRQE.com about the unlikelihood of being named to a frontline job in the war on terror, after being fired as a US Attorney, Iglesias allowed: "It's been very ironic."

Early life[edit]

Born in Panama City, Panama to Baptist missionaries, his mother, Margaret Geiger, is a German-American, and his father, Claudio Iglesias, was a Kuna-Panamanian. His mother and father raised him on a small island off the coast of Panama where they were building a church, and doing medical, dental, and linguistic work for the Kuna people, documenting the Kuna language. After Panama his family moved first to Newkirk, Oklahoma (1964 to 1970), and then to Gallup, New Mexico. Moving again, he graduated from Santa Fe High School, in Santa Fe, New Mexico (1976). He obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois (1980), and a Juris Doctor from the University of New Mexico School of Law (1984).[1][5][6][7][8][9]

He served on active duty in the United States Navy, and is a mobilized member of the U.S. Naval Reserve. While in the navy, from 1985 and 1988, he was a Judge Advocate (JAG), at the Pentagon and Naval Legal Service Office, in Washington, D.C., at the Washington Navy Yard. In 1986, he was one of the members of the legal team that was the inspiration for the film A Few Good Men, with Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson, a case involving the assault of a fellow Marine at their base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.[1][5][6][7][8]

A political independent during his college years, he became a Republican while in the Navy. His core ideals line up better with the Republican party. Iglesias in an interview with Tavis Smiley, said that he was for: "smaller government, less taxes, personal responsibility, and government restraint."[5] He added, "Only problem is, our leaders haven't been practicing that. We've outspent the Democrats for the past eight years. So there's a difference between the ideals, which I love, and the actual application, which I don't love."[5]

In 1995 he was a member of the White House Fellowship program, as a Special Assistant to the Secretary of Transportation.[10] He was a state Assistant Attorney General (Special Prosecutions; defending police officers in civil rights cases) for the state of New Mexico from 1988 to 1991. From 1991-1993, he was an assistant city attorney for the city of Albuquerque. He went back to the state of New Mexico, first for the State Risk Management Legal Office (1995 to 1998) as Chief Counsel, and the Taxation and Revenue Department, General Counsel (1998 to 2001). He ran for New Mexico Attorney General as a Republican in 1998, but lost 51-49 to Democrat Patricia A. Madrid.[1][6][8][10]

At the time of his appointment to U.S. Attorney, Iglesias was an associate with the law firm of Walz and Associates in Albuquerque, as well as a Commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve JAG Corps.[10] He is currently a Captain in the Navy JAG Corps. [10]

In his spare time he reviews Native American films, both fictional and documentary. In 2002, he contributed an article to Native Peoples Magazine, called "Brothers in Arms: Windtalkers".[11][12]

Iglesias lives with his wife, Cynthia (Cyndy), to whom he has been married for 21 years, and their four daughters, in Albuquerque's Northeast heights.[1][8] He has two older sisters, Marina and Lorie and is a practicing Evangelical Christian.[9][13]


Iglesias was nominated by the White House on August 2, 2001 to the position of United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico.[10]

Iglesias headed a panel that advised the U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft on matters of homeland security. While serving on the panel, he opposed pulling the National Guard away from the U.S. border with Mexico.[14]

United States Attorney dismissal[edit]

Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy
( )
G. W. Bush administration officials involved
Involved administration officials who resigned
U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary
110th Congress
U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary
110th Congress

In October 2006 (prior to the 2006 midterm election) Senator Pete Domenici called to ask about the progress of an investigation, New Mexico U.S. Attorney Iglesias said he felt this inquiry was trying to "pressure" him to speed up indictments in a federal corruption investigation that involved State Senator Manny Aragon. When Iglesias said, he didn’t think an indictment would be issued before November, "the line went dead." Iglesias was fired one month after the election by the Bush Administration as part of the Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy. In October, Representative Heather Wilson also called about the indictments in a federal corruption investigation that also involved Aragon."[15]

Allen Weh, chairman of the Republican Party of New Mexico, said he complained in 2005 about then-U.S. Attorney David Iglesias to a White House aide for Rove, asking that Iglesias be removed.[4] Then in 2006 Rove personally told Weh “He’s gone,” Rove said.[4]

One of the stated reasons for Iglesias' dismissal, by Administration officials, was dissatisfaction in his prosecution of voter-fraud cases. Nevertheless, Iglesias "had been heralded for his expertise in that area by the Justice Department, which twice selected him to train other federal prosecutors to pursue election crimes" and was "one of two chief federal prosecutors invited to teach at a 'voting integrity symposium' in October 2005… sponsored by Justice's public integrity and civil rights sections."[16]

Iglesias said that in October 2006 he received inquiries regarding the timing of a federal probe of a kickback scheme involving local Democrats from two congressmen whom Iglesias refused to name for fear of retribution. He said that they appeared eager for there to be an indictment in time to assist the Republicans in the upcoming November election, and believed that he was ultimately fired for refusing to expedite matters.[17] In comments to the Albuquerque Journal he described them as "two members of the New Mexico delegation".[18]

The Justice Department said that part of the reason for Iglesias's dismissal was his frequent absences. In response to this charge, Iglesias stated that the reason for these absences was his mandatory 40-day per year service as part of the Navy Reserve, in which he still serves as a commander.[19] This represents a possible violation of USERRA.

In October 2008, a report by the Department of Justice's Inspector General found that Iglesias had been wrongfully dismissed because he had refused to pursue prosecutions against the Democrat-linked community organization ACORN and a prominent New Mexico Democrat. "The real reasons for Iglesias' removal were the complaints from New Mexico Republican politicians and party activists about how Iglesias handled voter fraud and public corruption cases in the state," the report says. The Inspector General's report says that Senator Domenici's complaints were the "primary" reason Iglesias was fired.[3]

Larry Gomez, the man who had been his assistant, took over as acting U.S. Attorney,[20] but never received a presidential appointment to the post.[21]

In July 2010, Department of Justice prosecutors closed the two-year investigation without filing charges after determining that the firing was inappropriately political, but not criminal, saying "Evidence did not demonstrate that any prosecutable criminal offense was committed with regard to the removal of David Iglesias. The investigative team also determined that the evidence did not warrant expanding the scope of the investigation beyond the removal of Iglesias."[22]

Post U.S. attorney[edit]

On the television show Hardball with Chris Matthews on March 22, 2007, Iglesias indicated that he was not interested in a future political career and would be more interested in a media job. In May 2008 he released with contributor Davin Seay In Justice: Inside the Scandal That Rocked the Bush Administration. He has also been interviewing for a private sector position.[5][23]

On The Daily Show first broadcast on June 16, 2008, Iglesias was asked about his political ideology. Host Jon Stewart pointed out that Iglesias had been a committed Republican. Stewart asked whether Iglesias' experiences made him feel disappointed and betrayed. Iglesias replied, "Yes, and to use a Star Wars kind of imagery, I thought I was working with the Jedi Knights, and I was working for the Sith Lords."[24]

In 2009, Iglesias was named as an honoree to Esquire Magazine’s annual “Best and Brightest” issue for his work as a terrorism prosecutor with the Defense Department’s Office of Military Commissions.[25]

In 2014, Iglesias was appointed Director of the J. Dennis Hastert Center at Wheaton College in Illinois.[26]


  1. ^ a b c d e Gisick, Michael. "Fired U.S. Attorney David Iglesias embraces the media in his quest for vindication" - Albuquerque Tribune - Thursday, May 10, 2007
  2. ^ a b Presidential Nomination: David Claudio Iglesias - The White House
  3. ^ a b An Investigation Into the Removal of Nine U.S. Attorneys in 2006 | Department of Justice, pgs. 190-192
  4. ^ a b c "Report: Rove was urged to oust U.S. attorney" - MSNBC - March 11, 2007
  5. ^ a b c d e David Iglesias Transcript - The Tavis Smiley Show - original airdate August 6, 2007
  6. ^ a b c Riccardi, Nicholas. "Fired U.S. attorney was going places" - The Los Angeles Times (c/o Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) - Mar 7, 2007
  7. ^ a b Speaker Series at UNM - The University of New Mexico - 2006
  8. ^ a b c d Jensen, Heather. "Inspired by a True Story" - Wheaton Alumni Magazine - Wheaton College - Winter 2001 - p. 4 (Adobe Acrobat *.PDF document)
  9. ^ a b White, Wayne. "Former Newkirk Resident 1 Of 8 Fired U.S. Attorneys" - The Newkirk Herald Journal - April 5, 2007
  10. ^ a b c d '"President Bush to Nominate One Individual to Serve in his Administration, Sixteen Individuals to Serve as Members of the Federal Judiciary, and Twelve Individuals to Serve as United States Attorneys" Office of the Press Secretary - The White House - August 2, 2001
  11. ^ David Claudio Iglesias - Native Peoples Magazine - June 14, 2002
  12. ^ Review: Makoce Wakan - Eagle Thunder Entertainment
  13. ^ The Raw Story » Fired US Attorney: ‘I was working for the Sith Lords’
  14. ^ "National Guard Inspectors' Exit From Border Stokes Worries" The Associated Press (c/o the Houston Chronicle) - May 6, 2003
  15. ^ Taylor, Marisa. '"Sources: GOP lawmakers tried to influence federal investigation" - McClatchy Newspapers - March 1, 2007
  16. ^ Goldstein, Amy. "Justice Dept. Recognized Prosecutor's Work on Election Fraud Before His Firing" - Washington Post - page=A04 - March 19, 2007
  17. ^ Taylor, Marisa. "Political interference is alleged in the sacking of a U.S. attorney" McClatchy Newspapers - Wednesday, February 28, 2007
  18. ^ Kiel, Paul. "Paper: Pressure Calls Came from New Mexicans" TPM Muckraker.com - March 1, 2007
  19. ^ Eggen, Dan. "Fired U.S. Attorney Says Lawmakers Pressured Him" - Washington Post - page. A10 - March 1, 2007
  20. ^ "Iglesias: I'll name names" Albuquerque Tribune - February 28, 2007
  21. ^ Larry Gomez served as U.S. Attorney under an appointment by Acting Attorney General Peter D. Keisler from September 26, 2007 to January 25, 2008, and was succeeded by Gregory J. Fouratt under a judicial appointment. "Administrative Order 08-14" United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, 25 January 2008, accessed December 23, 2008
  22. ^ DOJ: Prosecutor firing was politics, not crime.
  23. ^ Pappu, Sridhar."The Next Best Path: Warming to Limelight, Dismissed U.S. Attorney David Iglesias Forges a New Future" - Washington Post - Tuesday, May 22, 2007
  24. ^ Video from thedailyshow.com.
  25. ^ http://www.esquire.com/features/best-and-brightest-2009/david-iglesias-1209?click=main_sr
  26. ^ http://www.wheaton.edu/Students/The-Record/Archives/Spring-2014/April-11-2014/David-Iglesias-appointed-as-Hastert-Center-director

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Norman Bay
United States Attorney
District of New Mexico

Succeeded by
Larry Gomez