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Caught in the Crosshairs: Gov Don Siegelman talks with OpEdNews, Part Three

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Joan Brunwasser       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink

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This is the last portion of my interview with Governor Siegelman. Journalist Roger Shuler reports that, during your trial, several jury members sent text messages to one another. They discussed the trial and strategems to reach a decision against you. Surely, this should be enough to throw out the case or get the judge recused. Yet that has not happened. Can you talk about what allowing that kind of behavior in the middle of a trial means, in cases from here on out, if this is not disallowed?

I am shocked by the United States Government's response filed last Tuesday.

When [the judge] denied our motion for a new trial, based on those emails, both courts have now said that it's okay for jurors to be emailing each other before the close of the government's case, okay to be in a conspiracy to subvert the defendant's constitutional right to a fair trail.

Keep in mind what these jurors were saying and what they were trying to do.*** The emails revealed a deep hidden prejudice against me and just as important, the emails showed that the jurors were violating the order of the court and plotting to get other jurors to vote for a conviction!

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According to the United States government, jurors are now free to conspire by email or text messaging during the course of a trial and are free to conspire with one another to try to get votes for a conviction even before the evidence and witnesses have been heard; and that it is more important to protect a jury verdict even with juror misconduct involved then it is to protect a defendant's right to a fair trial.

How can the United States government think that such a decision promotes public trust and confidence in the fairness of our judicial and court systems?

You're right; that is disturbing. Columbia U legal scholar Scott Horton points out that, traditionally, a new administration appoints new US attorneys. That has not happened since Obama came into office - not in general, and certainly not in Alabama, where Leura Canary is hanging onto her seat, despite many calls for her to resign. Would you like to comment on that?

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I will never be given a fair shake as long as the Rove/Bush U. S. Attorneys are left in charge. Leaving a rotten apple in the barrel until you can grow another ripe apple to take its place is disastrous. This administration made a decision, early on not to do the one thing George W. Bush did right - replace all U.S. Attorneys, no exceptions. Bush replaced all U.S. Attorneys appointed by Clinton with temporary career Assistant U.S. Attorneys who served until the U.S. Attorney was named by the White House. At the point the Presidential U.S. Attorney was nominated and named Interim U.S. Attorney they replaced the temporary career Assistant U.S. Attorney.

This has been a very long haul. It must be exhausting, emotionally and financially. How do you keep your spirits up?

This fight is about freedom, yes mine, but, more importantly, our America's freedom. If the government sweeps under the White House rug:

  • Leading us to war under false pretenses;
  • Using illegal wiretaps for information and torture as a means of interrogation;
  • Stealing elections and using the Department of Justice as a political weapon to win elections,

Then, our democracy and liberties will remain threatened. Those who perpetrated these acts against our democracy, our constitution, and our freedoms must be held accountable or else they will be used again.

What would you like to say to your many supporters? What would you like them to be doing right now?

I understand why President Obama wants to look forward not backward, we all know how important it is to fix our economy, end the threat of global warming, provide better health care and work for peace; however, in the end, what may be his greatest legacy is what he does to restore justice and preserve our American democracy.

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Would you like to take this opportunity to talk about your appearance at the Netroots Nation Conference this weekend? Forum moderator and journalist Andrew Kreig describes your session: "Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman and former Pennsylvania Allegheny County Coroner Dr. Cyril Wecht will show how "selective prosecution' unfairly ruined careers and poses an ongoing threat to our legal system." No one can dispute your qualifications to lead that forum. Can you tell our readers about Netroots Nation?

Netroots is a wonderful opportunity to network with like-minded activists from around the country. These are the movers and shakers of today's information age. They are the Internet's heart, mind and soul who make things happen, build support for issues and, in my opinion, make change possible.

I am very much looking forward to sharing this exciting conference with my daughter, Dana, who interacted with many of these folks during the time I was in prison, and, set the stage for the House Judiciary Committee to demand Karl Rove's testimony. Thanks for asking.

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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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