Cory Voorhis plans future court action over his firing
Last week, ex-ICE agent Cory Voorhis made his case for why he should get his old job back during a two-day hearing; click here to read J. David McSwane's account of the first session and here for his take on the second one. But even as he waits for Merit Systems Protection Board Judge Jeremiah Cassidy to determine whether he should be reinstated (a ruling is expected in thirty to 45 days), Voorhis is already thinking about going back to court.
"I fully intend to seek some judicial review about how this case has been handled and conducted," he says.
Overall, Voorhis was pleased by the hearings.
"I feel really good about how they went," he notes. "I was really anxious to testify and tell the story for the first time after all these years."
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That tale, involving Voorhis's passing of information from a restricted database to gubernatorial candidate Bob Beaprez, had unexpected repercussions. Many observers believe it contributed directly or indirectly to the decision by Governor Bill Ritter not to run for reelection and the failure of onetime Ritter aide Stephanie Villafuerte's nomination as U.S. Attorney.
As for Voorhis himself, he was acquitted of criminal wrongdoing but wound up being sacked by ICE anyhow. One of his goals in pushing for the hearing was to expose the agency's behavior in hurrying him toward the door.
"One thing that was apparent is that the government showed a complete willingness to misconstrue numerous facts and evidence," he says. "I'm terribly disturbed by how the whole investigation was conducted in the first place. They committed some major wrongs that have yet to be made right at this point."
Examples? Voorhis won't go into them right now, "because I anticipate that much of that will be subject to future litigation." But he does feel comfortable discussing his contention that his actions weren't politically motivated even though Beaprez was in campaign mode at the time Voorhis provided info about plea bargains offered to illegal immigrants that was potentially damaging to his opponent, Ritter. As he stressed on the stand, he sought out Beauprez because of his status as a congressman, not a candidate.
"I knew a congressman has oversight authority on federal immigration matters," he says. "I thought at that point the issue was of such a magnitude that it needed the full weight of a U.S. congressman, who could bring all the powers he has to bear to put a stop to that kind of dangerous policy." He adds that he chose Beauprez over other Colorado representatives because he seemed to be the only one of those officials to be speaking regularly about immigration matters.
Beauprez attended the hearing, which impressed Voorhis.
"I want to make clear that this case was never about hurting Bill Ritter or helping Bob Beauprez," Voorhis maintains. "But one thing I've seen throughout this process is that there's quite a distinction between the character of the man who's in office and Bob Beauprez."
He thinks Beauprez "demonstrated what a great man he is by weathering merciless personal attacks on his character even from some of those people who supported me and were calling on him to come to my rescue. To this day, I believe Bob Beauprez owes me nothing. But he has shown the willingness to be supportive of me from the very beginning. I think that shows the type of character the man has."
Likewise, Voorhis was buoyed by the number of backers who attended the hearing.
"Not only did it cheer me, but I think there was an even more important matter at stake. The government in this case actually took efforts to try to hold this hearing in what I'd characterize as a closet, with no witnesses available. That's a miscarriage of justice that they would even attempt that.
"What I always feared was that the misconstruing of facts and evidence would not be witnessed by others. So it was extremely important to have members of the community, whether they supported me or not, have the chance to sit and witness the government at work. And I think that's what transpired."
Several days removed from the hearings, Voorhis is loathe to guess an outcome. In his words, "I long ago gave up on trying to predict how things will go in the judicial system." But he acknowledges the strain it's put on those closest to him.
"This situation has impacted every member of my family, from my two young children and my beautiful wife to my mother and her physical health and every one of my siblings and the extended members of the family," he says, adding, "This isn't a case about just me. It's about the impact on my entire family -- and the impact on the community."
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