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Caught in the Crosshairs: Former Governor Don Siegelman Talks with OpEdNews

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Headlined to H1 8/16/09
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Under the George W. Bush administration, hundreds of Democrats were politically prosecuted by the Department of Justice (DoJ). Careers, reputations and finances were ruined in the process, families devastated. Many of the targeted politicians ended up in prison. Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman is one of the most visible targets of the partisan DoJ. A hugely popular Democrat in a Republican state, Siegelman was the only person in Alabama history to be elected to the four top state posts. Political prosecutions were designed to achieve permanent Republican domination by undermining Democratic infrastructure across the country, particularly in swing states.


Gov. Siegelman was convicted on corruption charges, and taken straight from sentencing to prison in handcuffs and shackles, treatment reserved for dangerous and violent criminals. His harsh sentence left dozens of former states attorneys of both parties calling on the DoJ to reexamine his case. Gov. Siegelman is currently out on appeal. Welcome to OEN, Governor. Please tell our readers how what happened to you has any bearing on their lives and on the state of our democracy.


What has happened to me is un-American. If the power of our government can be abused and used as a political weapon against me, a former Governor, the same thing can happen to you or anyone. Sadly, our American democracy has been threatened, our constitutional rights and individual liberties eroded.


We have sat back and allowed our Department of Justice to be used as a political tool by Karl Rove; we have watched as we were led into war under false pretenses, as torture was utilized as a means of interrogation; we have allowed illegal wiretaps and seen elections in this country stolen.


We cannot allow these threats to the core values of our democracy to be swept under the White House rug. I firmly believe that holding those public officials accountable who abused their power is critical to the stability and restoration of democracy, our constitution and our freedom.


Tamara Grimes, a whistleblower that worked for the prosecution in your case, recently confirmed your claims that the key witness [Nick Bailey] was coached, threatened and coerced into giving testimony against you. Further, once he served his time, Bailey has recanted his testimony. Shouldn't that be enough right there to guarantee a new trial or to throw out your conviction?


It should at least be enough to raise an eyebrow at the Department of Justice. One would think that when an employee of the United States Department of Justice comes forward with information demonstrating wrongdoing on the part of U.S. prosecutors, that someone would be concerned enough to put someone under oath and at least ask about the allegations. So far, nothing.


That's very disappointing. Where does the latest decision by the 11th Circuit Appeals Court fit in here?


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Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more...)
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remember this story? "Karl Rove hijacked the Depa... by trail the dogs on Monday, Aug 17, 2009 at 12:42:32 AM
Obama wants to be bipartisan -- to work with the R... by Don Smith on Monday, Aug 17, 2009 at 11:21:39 AM
with anything that you wrote, sadly for all of us.... by Joan Brunwasser on Monday, Aug 17, 2009 at 2:43:12 PM
are human and they make mistakes but when you see ... by Archie on Tuesday, Aug 18, 2009 at 10:39:36 AM
Scott Horton wrote an article for Harpers that has... by Joan Brunwasser on Tuesday, Aug 18, 2009 at 11:19:30 AM