May 25, 2006

Bush orders Jefferson records sealed 45 days

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush on Thursday
ordered records seized from Louisiana Democratic Rep. William
Jefferson's office to be sealed for 45 days in order to work
out a dispute over the documents with the U.S. Congress.

Leaders of the House of Representatives are outraged that
the FBI seized a computer hard drive and two boxes of papers
from Jefferson's office. They contend the search violated the
constitutional separation of powers between the executive and
legislative branches.

In a statement, Bush said he was taking the unusual step of
directing the Justice Department to seal all the materials
recovered from Jefferson's office last weekend for the next 45

"This period will provide both parties more time to resolve
the issues in a way that ensures that materials relevant to the
ongoing criminal investigation are made available to
prosecutors in a manner that respects the interests of a
co-equal branch of government," Bush said.