Fuller is shown above barely suppressing his glee in a 2006 photo by Alabama free-lancer Phil Fleming taken minutes after the jury broke a deadlock to convict Siegelman on fewer than a third of the felony counts in his indictment. Fleming says he urged the judge not to look so happy for the formal portrait that the rarely photographed Fuller requested in order to commemorate the occasion.
As we have often reported:
Simpson swore in her Judiciary Committee testimony that in 2002 she heard William Canary, CEO of the Business Council of Alabama and a longtime political ally of Rove, say that his "girls" would remove Siegelman as a political threat to Republicans. Canary's wife, Leura, was the Bush U.S. Attorney from 2001 to 2011 in Montgomery whose office successfully prosecuted Siegelman in 2005. Earlier, a federal judge in Birmingham thwarted the initial Bush DOJ prosecution of Siegelman because the judge thought the charges the most unmerited he had seen against any defendant in nearly three decades on the federal bench.
Simpson swore also that she heard a fellow Republican say in early 2005 that Siegelman, who thought he was free of all charges and could campaign for re-election in 2006, would be indicted later that year and that the case would be steered to Fuller because the Republican judge "hated" Siegelman for trying to prosecute him regarding the attempted pension fraud.
So, according to Simpson's testimony on what she heard, Fuller would "hang" Siegelman after Bush authorities brought new charges. Simpson also provided documents from her research showing that Fuller was enriched by $300 million in no-bid Bush contracts to Doss Aviation, a company Fuller secretly controlled on the side while providing many pro-prosecution rulings on the vast number of irregularities in the Siegelman case.
The Obama administration has endorsed all Bush-era decision-making in the case. Thus the Obama DOJ opposed all Siegeman appeals, including claims that the judge should have recused himself under the still-current Supreme Court holding that a judge is required to disclose to litigants factors that might create the potential fear of bias (as opposed to forcing litigants to investigate judges in every case for hidden factors).
The Obama DOJ retained Canary until last year and fired a DOJ paralegal on the Siegelman case who cited DOJ irregularities, primarily by Canary and her closest aides. Also, the Obama administration via White House Counsel Gregory Craig brokered a deal with Republicans in 2009 whereby Rove would not undergo public testimony under oath when the House Judiciary Committee staff questioned him in July 2009. What purported to be a rigorous, Democfratic-led inquiry was thus a whitewash: Committee staff never undertook preliminary interviews, asked tightly framed questions or followed-up leads with further questions.
The con job on the public was doubtless made easier because Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Michigan) was under pressure. His wife pled guilty in June 2009 to federal bribery charges. Meanwhile, Conyers and prominent staff have long been under investigation also, reducing their role to figurehead status while the typical concerned citizen falsely imagines they are free to investigate wrongdoing. In such ways, conventional wisdom is that justice was fully served in the Rove and Siegelman cases, as typical in such matters.
Yet it need not take a science fiction writer to imagine a few other possibilities. One is that Rove, with a long career of high-level contacts that include work for former CIA Director George H.W. Bush, might think he knows enough about one or more leaders in the Obama administration as to be protected against any unwanted disruption of his privacy.
Under that scenario, Obama officials would have the incentive to keep coddling Rove and avoid any pre-election unpleasantness this year, as always, especially if there are national security factors far more important than the fate of prosecutorial abuse victims such as Siegelman and his family.
That possibility of national security intrigue is not far-fetched given the unusual number of military-related factors that arose in the case. The anti-Siegelman prosecution team was headquartered at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, for example, with the lead prosecutor a colonel in the Aiir Force Reserve. The key interrogations of suspects were at the base, adding to a fear factor.
The judge's company Doss, which he reportedly controlled with up to 43.75 percent of shares according to documentation Simpson unearthed, trains Air Force pilots and refuels Air Force planes. Also, it provides uniforms for all branches of the service and for many federal agencies. Among other activities was the pre-9/11 training of pilots from Saudi Arabia and Iran.
In 2009, the Obama White House Counsel Craig brokered the deal with Bush negotiators to let Rove and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers avoid tough questioning on their roles by Judiciary Committee staff that summer. The parties cited Executive Privilege as requiring deferential treatment for Rove and Miers, even though the so-called privilege has been described by scholar Raoul Berger as a "Constitutional Myth" created in recent times by White House officials who want to keep secrets.
Craig's high-profile career has included a heavy national security experience. He represented former CIA director Richard Helms, and Craig's longtime law firm, Williams and Connolly, at various times has represented Rove, Holder and multiple members of the Bush, Clinton and Obama families. One of my sources claims that Craig and Rove became friendly in the 1970s when their respective bosses, firm founder Edward Bennet Williams and his friend George H.W. Bush, played tennis together regularly.
is, of course, difficult for outsiders to learn the full facts,
especially when official proceedings are compromised or secret. The
latter is the case currently involving Fuller's divorce proceedings.
Alabama Circuit Judge Anita L. Kelly sealed them at Fuller's request
over the objection of his wife. Our Justice Integrity Project has sought -- so far unsuccessfully -- to require at least a hearing in view of Alabama
and United States law holding that court proceedings are presumed to be
public. Also, we have attempted without success to obtain comment from
Fuller, just as we did unsuccessfully sought it previously from Rove.
The Fuller proceedings raise particular public interest concerns for several reasons, including the judge's notoriety in the Siegelman case and the never-resolved claims that he should have been impeached and prosecuted for attempted fraud against Alabama's pension system.