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Former U.S. Attorney Says He Was Fired Because Of PTL Investigation

August 7, 1987

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) _ Former U.S. Attorney Charles Brewer says he was told not to investigate fallen evangelist Jim Bakker’s PTL television ministry, and that he lost his job when he pushed a federal probe into alleged mismanagement.

Brewer, who was abruptly replaced last week as U.S. attorney for the western district of North Carolina, said Thursday another factor might be that he had asked that Attorney General Edwin Meese not be involved in decisions relating to the PTL case.

Brewer said that he had been looking into the relationship between PTL and Wedtech Corp., a New York-based defense contractor that Meese invested in and is now the subject of a bribery investigation.

″I first made the department aware of my interest in the PTL allegations that were coming out in the Charlotte area very heavily,″ Brewer told WSOC- TV. ″I was told not to take any action in regard to the investigation until I could have conversations with top-level department officials.

″During my nearly six years in office, that was the only time I’ve ever been told not to investigate anything,″ he said.

Brewer cleaned out his office last week when told by the Justice Department that a technical vacancy was being declared by the attorney general. Tom Ashcraft, a former aide to U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., was sworn in as Brewer’s interim replacement Monday.

″I believe that the PTL investigation is what caused my early removal from office,″ Brewer said in an interview with WSOC-TV.

Justice Department officials denied that Brewer’s removal was linked to the PTL probe. Officials told WSOC that the decision to replace Brewer was made long before the department got involved with the PTL investigation.

According to a department spokesman, Brewer was replaced because his term was up. However, the department gave no explanation why Brewer was asked to leave his post two months early.

Brewer said the use of a technical vacancy was unusual unless a federal attorney dies or resigns.

Meanwhile, Brewer said he learned that PTL had given $50,000 to a New York church that also had received contributions from the Wedtech, which was already was under investigation by federal officials. Meese had been linked to Wedtech through his investments, Brewer said.

″All I really know is that Wedtech was contributing to the church and PTL was contributing to the church and ... as the attorney general was being investigated in his relationship with Wedtech, I felt it appropriate to inform the Department of Justice (of) that and suggest to them the attorney general not be consulted in regard to the PTL case until such time that all that was resolved,″ Brewer said.