Jeff Sessions Wanted to ‘Drop the Case’ Against KKK Lynching, Attorney Testified – The Daily Beast – On one occasion, when Figures upbraided Sessions’s secretary over what he felt was an inappropriate personal comment she made to him, he said Sessions had summoned him to his office and admonished him to “be careful what you say to white folks.” Figures was black.
Sessions and his supporters, then as now, defend his civil rights record based on several cases to which Figures was also assigned, including the conviction of Henry Hays for the 1981 murder by lynching of Michael Donald.
“When I became a U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, I, along with Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Figures and the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, worked to solve the [Donald] murder,” Sessions wrote in his response to the Judiciary Committee questionnaire for his AG nomination. “Because the federal government did not have an enforceable death penalty at the time, I insisted that Hays be prosecuted by the local district attorney.”
Sessions was questioned about the prosecution in 1986, days before Figures spoke to the committee, and told Senator Howell Heflin that he did not obstruct the investigation.