An American Political Prisoner you may never have heard of before

Don Eugene Siegelman is an American Democratic Party politician who held numerous offices in Alabama. He was the 51st Governor of Alabama for one term from 1999 to 2003. Siegelman is the only person in the history of Alabama to be elected to serve in all four of the top statewide elected offices: Secretary of State, Attorney General, Lieutenant Governor and Governor. He served in Alabama politics for 26 years.

After the expiration of his governorship, two of Alabama’s United States Attorneys from the Bush camp with unique ties to Karl Rove began a criminal investigation against him on accusations of corruption while in office. Indictments came in 2004 and again in 2005, and in 2006 he was convicted on corruption charges. Since then there have been counter-accusations by various former attorneys general and officials that his prosecution was intentionally wrongful. On March 6, 2009, the Conservative 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld key bribery, conspiracy and obstruction counts against Siegelman and refused his request for a new trial, finding no evidence that the conviction was unjust. The Court struck down two of the seven original charges however, Siegelman was ordered to serve out a 78 month prison sentence that began today.

There is this story from Crooks and Liars:

http://crooksandliars.com/2008/02/25/60-minutes-the-prosecution-of-don-siegelman

And these two interesting YouTube stories:

Objections raised against the prosecutors and the court proceedings

Testimony of the star witness

Witness Nick Bailey, who provided the cornerstone testimony upon which the conviction was based, was subsequently convicted of extortion; upon being given 10 years in prison Bailey cooperated with prosecutors to lighten his own sentence. Although he engaged in over 70 interviews with the prosecution against Siegelman, none of the notes detailing these interviews were shared with the defense. In addition, after the case was tried it was confirmed that the check he testified he saw Richard M Scrushy write for Siegelman was actually written days later, when he was not actually present.

Partiality of the jury

Documents indicated that prosecutors interviewed two jurors while the court was reviewing charges of juror misconduct, in violation of the judge’s instruction that no contact with jurors should occur without his permission.

Karl Rove connection

Allegations that Siegelman was prosecuted at the insistence of Bush-appointed officials at the Justice Department, as well as the insistence of Leura Canary, a U.S. Attorney in Montgomery whose husband was Alabama’s top Republican operative and who had for years worked closely with Karl Rove, led federal courts to release the accused on bail. In June 2007, a Republican lawyer, Dana Jill Simpson of Rainsville, Alabama, signed a sworn statement that, five years earlier, she had heard that Karl Rove was preparing to neutralize Siegelman politically with an investigation headed by the U.S. Department of Justice. Simpson later told The Birmingham News that her affidavit’s wording could be interpreted in two ways, and stated that she had written her affidavit herself, whereas in her Congressional testimony she had admitted to having help from a Siegelman supporter.

According to Simpson’s statement, she was on a Republican campaign conference call in 2002 when she heard Bill Canary tell other campaign workers not to worry about Siegelman because Canary’s “girls” and “Karl” would make sure the Justice Department pursued the Democrat so he was not a political threat in the future. “Canary’s girls” supposedly included his wife, Leura Canary, who is United States Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, and United States Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama Alice Martin. Leura Canary did not submit voluntary recusal paperwork until two months after Siegelman attorney David Cromwell Johnson’s press conference in March 2002.

In interviews with the press, Simpson has emphasized that she heard Rove’s name mentioned in a phone conversation in which the discussion turned to Siegelman, clarified that she heard someone involved in a 2002 conference call refer to a meeting between Mr. Rove and Justice Department officials on the subject of Siegelman, and revealed that Karl Rove ordered her to “catch Siegelman cheating on his wife.”The Anniston Star published an editorial stating that, “If that’s his story, then Rove should not hesitate to go under oath and answer questions before a congressional committee.”

Despite claims to 60 Minutes about having met and spoken with Rove repeatedly over the previous several years, in her sworn testimony to Congress in 2007 Simpson did not mention having spoken with him or met with him. Nor has she produced any phone records, pay stubs, receipts or other documentation to prove that she worked for either Karl Rove or the Republican Party. On the other hand, Raw Story reports that Karl Rove advised Bill Canary on managing Republican Bob Riley’s gubernatorial campaign against Siegelman in the election fraud controversy of 2002, based on the testimony of “two Republican lawyers who have asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation,” one of whom is close to Alabama’s Republican National Committee.

Simpson’s house burned down soon after she began whistleblowing, and Simpson’s car was driven off the road by a private investigator and wrecked. Investigations of the fire and the wreck found no foul play. As a result of the timing of these incidents, Simpson said, “Anytime you speak truth to power, there are great risks. I’ve been attacked,” explaining she felt a “moral obligation” to speak up.

Alleged Misconduct by Attorney General

In November 2008, new documents revealed alleged misconduct by the Bush-appointed U.S. attorney and other prosecutors in the case. Extensive and unusual contact between the prosecution and the jury were alleged to have occurred. According to Time, a Department of Justice Staffer furnished the new documents at the risk of losing her job. The documents included e-mails written by Canary, long after her recusal, offering legal advice to subordinates handling the case. At the time Canary wrote the e-mails, her husband was publicly supporting the state’s Republican governor, Bob Riley. In one of Leura Canary’s e-mails made public by Time, dated September 19, 2005, she forwarded senior prosecutors on the Siegelman case a three-page political commentary by Siegelman. Canary highlighted a single passage which, she told her subordinates, “Ya’ll need to read, because he refers to a ‘survey’ which allegedly shows that 67% of Alabamans believe the investigation of him to be politically motivated … Perhaps [this is] grounds not to let [Siegelman] discuss court activities in the media!” At Siegleman’s sentencing, the prosecutors urged the judge to use these public statements by Siegelman as grounds for increasing his prison sentence.

By all accounts this is a miscarriage of justice. It has politics written all over it and has ties to the man who we all know, along with Dick Cheney, outed an undercover CIA Operative in a time of War. And this man, Karl Rove is still funneling money in fraudulent campaign ads, not disclosing who his donors are, and as of yet, still isn’t in prison. Why didn’t President Obama and AG Eric Holder fire all the Bush-era U.S. Attorneys as all previous administrations due upon taking office? Why hasn’t President Obama granted Siegelman Clemency or a Pardon?

Don’t get me wrong, I do still support President Obama, but that is not to say I agree with everything he has done, or has failed to have done. This is a case that concerns me greatly and needs to be discussed more in the open and resolved soon while this political prisoner sits in a Federal Prison and the pompous white asswipe still is allowed to roam the streets free.

Check out this link to show your support for Governor Siegelman:

http://donsiegelman.org/

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