Today a broad coalition of organizations and individuals dedicated to an honest and accountable government launched “Restore Justice At Justice,” www.RestoreJusticeAtJustice.com, a campaign to clean up the Department of Justice’s sad record of political prosecutions under the Bush Administration. These organizations, representing hundreds of thousands of members, have a strong track record of spurring action on crucial issues. The coalition has sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, available on the Restore Justice At Justice website, requesting that he quickly investigate and identify those targeted, and vacate their convictions, beginning with Alabama ex-Governor Don Siegelman and Attorney Paul Minor.
The coalition asserts that under the Bush administration, the Department of Justice was driven by ideology, and prosecutions were often used to settle scores and intimidate the opposition. The GOP, at the direction of Karl Rove, used the DOJ to target political enemies including Democratic contributors and those who were a threat to GOP electoral gains and big business interests. The Department was used as an arm of the White House to destroy these Democrats. This political profiling resulted in the criminal prosecution of many on the GOP list, including Don Siegelman and Paul Minor.
“Last week, Attorney General Holder ordered the dismissal of charges against Senator Ted Stevens because of prosecutorial misconduct,” said coalition spokesperson Brad Friedman, the renowned crusader for electoral reform states: . “Because targeted political prosecutions also constitute prosecutorial misconduct, AG Holder should apply the same standard to Siegelman, Minor, and all the others identified as targeted by the Bush DOJ,” said Friedman. "Siegelman and Minor were targets of political profiling, which is as unjust as racial profiling. President Obama and Attorney General Holder promised to return justice to the Justice Department and free the Department from politics. We demand that they do so."
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., one of the signers at RestoreJusticeAtJustice.com, has stated publicly that “Paul Minor is an innocent man” who was targeted by Karl Rove, prosecuted by “crooked Justice Department prosecutors,” and sentenced to “a breathtaking 11-year sentence for non-violent, white collar crimes he did not commit," while Minor’s wife of 41 years lies in a hospital dying from cancer, unable “to utter the word l-o-v-e to her husband.” Kennedy summarizes the case this way: “Karl Rove's crooked henchmen at the U.S. Justice Department have turned this dignified gentleman's life into a horrible ordeal that is a disgrace to American democracy.” **Late Monday, Sylvia Minor died without her husband by her side after the DOJ opposed Minor’s bail pending appeal and a compassionate furlough.
The campaign is spearheaded by VelvetRevolution.us , a national non-profit affiliated with over 150 organizations. The coalition urges other organizations that care about justice to sign on to this campaign by sending an email to RestoreJusticeAtJustice(at)velvetrevolution.us. Individuals can sign on at www.RestoreJusticeAtJustice.com.
The New York Times
April 25, 2009
Attorney General Eric Holder's recent decision to drop all of the charges against Ted Stevens, the former Republican senator from Alaska, because of prosecutorial misconduct raises an important question: What about Don Siegelman? A bipartisan group of 75 former state attorneys general has written to Mr. Holder asking him to take a fresh look at the former Alabama governor's case. He should do so right away.
Mr. Siegelman was convicted in 2006 on dubious corruption charges. He spent nine months in prison before being released on appeal, and he faces years more behind bars. He has long insisted that the case against him was politically motivated and that prosecutors engaged in an array of professional and ethical violations.
Many aspects of the case require further scrutiny. United States Attorney Leura Canary is the wife of a prominent Republican political operative who was a strong opponent of Mr. Siegelman.
Her office prosecuted Mr. Siegelman. Ms. Canary said that she recused herself from the prosecution, but questions have been raised about whether she actually did.
Mr. Siegelman's supporters have long argued that he was targeted by the Justice Department because he was Alabama's leading Democratic politician and stood a good chance of once again being elected governor [as he had been in 2002: a victory that was stolen from him--MCM.]
A Republican lawyer in Alabama, Jill Simpson, has said that she heard Ms. Canary's husband, William Canary, say that he had discussed the prosecution with Karl Rove, the senior White House political adviser.
According to the Siegelman camp, at least three of the same officials who have been accused of prosecutorial misconduct in the Stevens case were involved in Mr. Siegelman's prosecution.
If true, this alone would seem to justify a thorough investigation of the case.