Special prosecutor Lawrence E. Walsh asked a federal judge today to dismiss a second suit by Lt. Col. Oliver L. North challenging the constitutionality of Walsh's job and seeking to block his criminal probe of the Iran- contra affair.
Walsh, responding in court to the second lawsuit filed by North in 11 days, said the legal maneuver, like the first suit, "represents an illegitimate collateral attack upon an ongoing criminal investigation" and should be dismissed because "his constitutional and statutory arguments are insubstantial."
"Unable to halt the investigation with the force of his arguments," Walsh said, "(North) should not be permitted to do so by the mere force--and volume--of his rapidly proliferating lawsuits."
North's second suit, filed Friday, was prompted by Atty. Gen. Edwin Meese III's move last week to secure Walsh's inquiry by appointing the special prosecutor to a parallel job within the Justice Department. North contended that the backup appointment also was unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge Barrington Parker set hearings on the constitutional question for late today on the first suit.
North's lawyer, Brendan Sullivan, charged that Meese's appointment of Walsh as head of a new "Office of Independent Counsel" was hasty and unauthorized.
Walsh, filing a 29-page response with the court, dismissed North's new contention that Walsh must be nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate.
"The attorney general's ability to delegate his power to prosecute is beyond constitutional question," he said.