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Justice Inquiry Centers on Dismissal, Gay Rumors

The Justice Department's inspector general confirmed Tuesday that he is looking into whether a department lawyer was dismissed over a rumor that she is a lesbian.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Leslie A. Hagen was informed in 2006 that her contract working on Indian affairs in the Justice Department's Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys would not be renewed for a second year — despite receiving the highest possible performance reviews.

When NPR first reported Hagen's case earlier this month, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) asked the Inspector General's Office and the Office of Professional Responsibility to confirm that they were looking into Hagen's case.

Leahy and Specter — the top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee — received their response Monday night.

In a letter dated April 14, Glenn Fine of the Inspector General's Office and H. Marshall Jarrett of the Office of Professional Responsibility said they are looking into whether Hagen was "discriminated against in employment decisions on the basis of alleged sexual orientation or other improper factors."

The inquiry into Hagen's dismissal is part of the larger investigation into personnel decisions by former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. That investigation involves the firings of several U.S. attorneys and allegations that career attorneys at the Justice Department were illegally hired and fired based on partisan political considerations.

Hagen is now working on another temporary contract in the Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs.

She has declined to comment on the investigation.

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