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

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Joan Brunwasser     Permalink    (# of views)   2 comments

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Welcome back, Governor. In the first part of our interview, we covered some of the flaws in the case against you. It's such a strange case, in many ways. On the one hand, there is what appears to be a trial run incompetently, if not corruptly. On the other hand, there are dozens of former attorneys general who have asked the DoJ to reopen the investigation of your case. Not to mention, a growing group of concerned citizens who regularly contact public officials and members of the press about you. Does that in any way offset the consistently awful news on the legal front?

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Joan, I am uplifted every day by people on the street and friends across the Internet. I am encouraged and hopeful that someday either Congress, the grand jury investigation or possibly through the DOJ that the truth about Karl Rove's involvement will be revealed and those who aided him will also be brought to justice. In the meantime, I am facing continued opposition from the same prosecutors I have been battling for over eight years.

As you may know, Professor Bennett Gershman of Pace University School of Law, author of Prosecutorial Misconduct and the preeminent scholar on this topic, said:

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...I have never encountered another prosecution in which it appears so clearly that the prosecutors were zealously bent on pursuing an individual, rather than on a crime... As an example of bad faith prosecution, the Siegelman case may be without parallel... There is no better example of the corrosive effect on the reputation of the Department of Justice...than the prosecution of Don Siegelman.

Fortunately everyone seems to see the injustice; Republicans and Democrats cheer me on and keep me motivated.

Recently, 75 state Attorneys General, Democrats and Republicans, wrote to Attorney General Holder, asking him to investigate my case. The big question is, how can I ever get a fair hearing as long as the Rove/Bush prosecutors are left in control? There is a really good reason for them to fight hard to keep this buried.

Can you take that last point a little farther, Governor? I can understand why Bush/Rove and Co. wouldn't have wanted your case to be re-examined. But, why would this administration be dragging its heels? Candidate Obama was committed to change, hope, and justice. And your case has many of the same elements that got Sen. Ted Stevens' case tossed out relatively soon after Obama was sworn in. So, what's your theory?

We have involved in my case:

- Jack Abramoff, who funneled $13 million of Indian casino money into Alabama to defeat me with the help of

- Ralph Reid, President of the "Christian" Coalition and

- Michael Scanlon, Governor Bob Riley's former Chief of Staff

-Karl Rove and who knows who he might have involved, possibly President Bush

-Bill Canary, Karl Rove's best friend and former business partner, husband of my prosecutor, my opponent's campaign manager

- Bob Riley and his son [Rob] who were on the conference call with my prosecutor's husband, Bill Canary, (Riley's campaign manager) when Jill Simpson heard "I've talked to Karl. Karl has talked to DOJ. Don't worry about Siegelman, the DOJ is already pursuing him and, besides, my girls [his wife, Leura, and Alice Martin, both US Attorneys in Alabama] are going to take care of Siegelman."

-Jeff Sessions, U S Senator, former U S Attorney whose investigators worked on my case for nearly five years

-Bill Pryor, now on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, Karl Rove's client who, as the state's AG, started the investigation against me

-Karl Rove's partner and Abramoff's employee who were given credit for stealing my election in 2002**

But forget, for the moment, the cast of political characters who were involved in my prosecution and let's look at the actual legal misconduct involved in my case.

There is far more prosecutorial misconduct in the Siegelman case than was present in Senator Stevens' case:

-US Attorney's office improper ex parte contacts with jurors during trial and failure to reveal them to the court or defense counsel;

-Government's failure to disclose until the case was on appeal, improper ex parte communication with the court (during the trial) on a subject about which the court had yet to rule,) involving the existence of a U.S. Postal Service secret investigative report on the lack of authenticity of juror emails - all of this presumably known to the USAO Montgomery;

-Had this report been given to the defense, the defense would have provided expert testimony to the effect that the U.S. Postal Service's methodology was flawed and unreliable;

-US Attorney's improper failure to correct false or misleading testimony during trial;

-US Attorney's improper conduct in preparing government witnesses to testify at trial;

-US Attorney's unrevealed threats to key witness and the sometimes successful threats to get witnesses or others to change their stories;

-US Attorney's insistence of the preparation of a script notebook for its key witness, which was gone over with him many times, but the existence of which was concealed and not provided to the defense as required and as per the court's explicit order;

-US Attorney's concealed refusal to turn over evidence including FBI reports and notes ofwitness interviews;

-US Attorney's refusal to abide by her announced recusal after her husband was caught as a paid consultant for one of my opponents for governor.

You ask what's happening at DOJ now? Well, as I mentioned, 75 former state AGs signed a letter asking for an investigation but as of now no one has even interviewed Nick Bailey who revealed on CBS' 60 Minutes [on February 24, 2008] that he had been interrogated over 70 times, and made to write his proposed answers down in a three-ring notebook until he got them the way the prosecutors wanted them. We were only given notes from nine meetings and were not told about - or given access to - the notebook, which should have been turned over to us.

It's been a year and a half and still no effort to get at the truth. No real investigation, even after John Conyers, as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, requested one. You are asking why? I don't have an answer.

It's hard to get to the truth when the same people who have been accused on misconduct are still in charge of my case.

Let's pause here, Governor. When we resume for the final installment of our interview, we'll discuss the implications of your case on our legal system and what's next for you.


**Gov. Siegelman says: The State Republican Party gave credit to Karl Rove's partner, Kitty Mc Collough (AKA Kelly Kimbrough) and Dan Gans, Bob Riley's chief of staff, went to work for the Abramoff/Tom DeLay company, The Alexandria Group, and took credit on his website for the vote switch that favored his former boss.


Part one of my interview with Gov. Siegelman

Don Siegelman photo byLindsay Beyerstein


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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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