Attorney General Eric Holder said on Wednesday that he expects to see an increase in the number of trials for those who may have engaged in illegal activity contributing to the collapse of the housing, financial and banking industries.
Appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee for a hearing on Justice Department activities, Holder was asked by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) why there hadn't been more "show trials" for alleged white-collar criminals. Cornyn, despite the use of a somewhat dismissive phrase, was being sincere.
"The president has created the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, and that task force is looking at a variety of matters," the Attorney General replied. "These are difficult cases to put together. They are complex by their nature. They are paper-driven. They are not easy to put together.
"I think over time we will see more of these trials, and I hope they will have the deterrent effect that they are capable of having," Holder went on, noting that cases had been successfully prosecuted against Bernie Madoff and Robert Allen Stanford.
Holder added that, like Cornyn, he believed the issue of investigating and -- in certain cases -- trying those responsible for the economic collapse "ultimately needs to be emphasized." The primary responsibility for that, Holder said, rests with the aforementioned task force, which he said is taking "an unprecedented effort to take the alphabet agencies and federal bureaucracies together so we can be efficient."