Monica Goodling's announcement that she would take the Fifth Amendment to avoid possibly incriminating herself came as the embattled attorney general cast himself as misunderstood in his conflicting accounts of his involvement in the firings. Goodling is the Justice Department's liaison to the White House.
Gonzales was to be in Cincinnati and Chicago on Tuesday in the latest leg of a multistate tour to promote a crackdown on child sex abuse and soothe U.S. attorneys who might be smarting over the dismissals.
Fending off calls for his resignation, Gonzales on Monday said he was "really pained" by Republicans and Democrats who say he has lost his credibility in dealing with the firings. A growing number of critics say the dismissals were politically motivated.
He sought to stem the furor over his March 13 statement that he "never saw documents" and "never had a discussion" about the firings. His schedule for last Nov. 27 showed he participated in an hourlong meeting and approved a detailed plan on the dismissals. He maintained he was not closely involved in the firings, and did not help select which prosecutors would be told to resign.