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Siegelman Blasts DoJ and Judge In ‘Final' Reply Seeking Hearing

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Facing a sentence of 20 additional years in prison recommended by Bush Justice Department holdovers, former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman finally took off the gloves Sept. 21 against his prosecutors and the judge -- and, for once, skipped any mention of Karl Rove.

Citing new evidence since his 2006 conviction on bribery-related charges, Siegelman's nine-page filing called for a hearing with cross-examination, plus a new trial and new judge.

The arguments responded to a government filing on Aug. 28 that no new evidence has been produced since Siegelman's 2006 convictions to justify a hearing or other relief.

More generally, Siegelman's prosecution remains the dramatic centerpiece of still-unsolved allegations that the Bush administration mounted a nationwide effort to change the country's political leadership by hundreds of disputed prosecutions of Democratic office-holders, candidates and contributors.

Nowhere else have so many whistleblowers stepped forward and so many investigative reporters unearthed scandal, with so little result. If you'd like to see a step-by-step of what DoJ does to a whistleblower -- and its justifications for doing so -- read my new 5,000-word OpEd News interview with Grimes, who played figured prominently in Siegelman's arguments as an insightful professional.

For the first time, Siegelman unloaded directly on the government's top prosecutors against him in Washington and Alabama by suggesting that they oppose a hearing because they fear evidence of their own crimes for obstructing justice.

Siegelman noted that "active players" in his case have included DoJ Public Integrity Chief William Welch, II and Criminal Division Appellate Chief Patty Stemler, who are already under criminal investigation for misconduct in last fall's conviction of former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, the Alaska Republican.

Furthermore, Siegelman pointed out that Justice Department whistleblower Tamarah Grimes has repeatedly stepped forward to allege misconduct by her colleagues on the Siegelman prosecution team. Grimes, a Republican paralegal with a quarter century experience in legal support, began alleging years ago that the Republican U.S. Attorney Leura Canary remained active in overseeing Siegelman's prosecution despite Canary's public claims that she was recused from the case since 2002 because of her husband's longtime opposition to Siegelman, Alabama's top Democrat.

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The paralegal was fired in June and cut off from health benefits a week after writing a 10-page letter to Attorney Gen. Eric Holder documenting the problems, as I reported for Huffington Post July and at greater length this month for the national paralegal magazine Know.

Meanwhile, Siegelman's co-defendant Richard Scrushy also filed 62-pages of legal arguments today. Scrushy, former HealthSouth CEO, underscored among other arguments the reprisal risks for the case's whistleblowers such as Grimes, who has twice been threatened by DoJ with criminal prosecution and who was sent a letter by DoJ this month with the inscription: 'Legal Mail -- Open Only In Presence of Inmate."

Also, Siegelman made his clearest call yet for recusal of Alabama Middle District Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller. Siegelman cited conflict of interest grounds stemming from Fuller's secret review of potential jury tampering without alerting the defense. The prosecution initiated an investigation of improper jury emails, and presented findings to the judge, who secretly ruled that no problem existed.

"If there was ever anything that smacked of the appearance of judicial impropriety, this was it," says Siegelman's filing. "It was also a screaming violation of due process to have secret investigations arranged by the Government and to conceal the results from the defense."

Fearing reprisal, Siegelman has largely refrained until now from directly challenging the judge, who was a target of a dozen columns in 2007 alone by Harper's contributor and law professor Scott Horton. Most of the columns alleged that the judge committed massive ethical breaches in Siegelman's case and in other activities, with many of the allegations related to the judge's receipt of federal dollars via his closely held military contracting company Doss Aviation, Inc.

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In May, I took the research further in a HuffPo column: "Siegelman Deserves New Trial Because of Judge's 'Grudge', Evidence Shows".$300 Million in Bush Military Contracts Awarded to Judge's Private Company."

Also, Republican whistleblower Dana Jill Simpson provided Congress in 2007 with sworn testimony that she had heard from fellow Republicans that Siegelman would be eliminated from politics by a criminal indictment and that Fuller "hated" Siegelman and therefore would "hang" him in the criminal case. Those she named have denied the allegations, but none of them have done so under oath, subject to cross-examination.

A Republican aged 56, Scrushy is serving a seven-year sentence from Fuller after being convicted of bribery-related charges for donating to an education non-profit at Siegelman's request in 1999 and then being reappointed by Siegelman to a state board on which Scrushy had served under three previous governors. Siegelman, 63, is free on bond after receiving a slightly longer sentence, largely for the same conduct.

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Andrew Kreig is an investigative reporter, attorney, author, business strategist, radio host, and longtime non-profit executive based in Washington, DC. His most recent book is "Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and Their Masters," the (more...)

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The war crimes cartel, using the offices of the Fe... by Patrick on Tuesday, Sep 22, 2009 at 2:38:15 PM
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