CORRUPTION: The Pennsylvania Democrat is being prosecuted on theft and fraud charges. By Ben Evans THE ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON – A U.S. attorney general from President George H.W. Bush’s administration told a House panel Tuesday he thinks the Justice Department had political aims in prosecuting a high-profile Democratic coroner from Pennsylvania. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.Dick Thornburgh, a Republican whose law firm is representing coroner Cyril Wecht in the pending trial and who acknowledged speaking as an advocate for Wecht, said the outspoken Democrat was “an ideal target for a Republican U.S. attorney trying to curry favor with a (Justice) Department which demonstrated that if you play by its rules, you will advance.” Politics should never play into a decision to prosecute, Thornburgh said at a House Judiciary Committee hearing examining “selective prosecution” by the Justice Department, but “sadly, that appears to have been so in the case against Dr. Wecht.” Republicans shot back that Thornburgh was simply trying to help his client in a public forum where he knows the Justice Department cannot discuss the case, which is still awaiting trial. “Your testimony, to be blunt, is the most pathetic example of ? hearsay and innuendo that I’ve heard in my seven years on this committee,” said Rep. Ric Keller, R-Fla. “It’s so far-fetched that I’m almost embarrassed being an attorney listening to it.” The Wecht prosecution on charges of theft, mail fraud and wire fraud was one of three corruption cases that Democrats spotlighted Tuesday as part of a broad investigation into White House interference with Justice Department activities. After months of questioning whether the Bush administration fired U.S. attorneys who were not “loyal Bushies,” Democrats said the cases provide strong evidence that some government lawyers may have done the White House’s bidding. The other cases discussed were the successful prosecution of former Democratic Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman on bribery and other charges and the overturned conviction of Wisconsin state procurement official Georgia Thompson in a contracting case. Testifying about the Alabama case, former Siegelman lawyer Doug Jones disputed the Justice Department’s claim that career prosecutors initiated and handled the prosecution. Jones, a former U.S. attorney under President Clinton, said he was given strong hints by local prosecutors in 2004 that the case might be fading after several years of investigation. But in late 2004, Jones said, local prosecutor Steve Feaga told him that officials in Washington had ordered a “top to bottom” review. Shortly after that, he said, Washington seemed to take over. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!