My guest today is Dana Siegelman, daughter of former Alabama Governor, Don Siegelman. Welcome back to OpEdNews, Dana. [We last spoke in 2009*] You got disappointing news from the US District Court recently regarding your dad's case. What can you tell us?
Dana and Don
During Bush's eight years in office, seven times more Democrats were prosecuted than Republicans, the repercussions of which are enormous. While this information was presented before Congress, nothing was done to right that injustice. Instead, Karl Rove had eight U.S. attorneys fired because they refused to prosecute Democrats. Despite the partisan nature of the prosecution and judge, the case itself had great irregularities of law and fact, which garnered the attention of 113 Attorneys General.
These Republican and Democratic state officials wrote US Attorney General Michael Mukasey and the Supreme Court, asking for a review of the case. Instead the Attorneys General brief was ignored and my father's appeal denied. What happened Friday, August 3rd 2012 made a mockery of the American people and all we supposedly stand for. It not only broke the hearts of those who love my father, but it broke their resolve, their hope, their love for this once great country, and their ability to believe in human justice. But we can't give up!
Your dad got a whopping big sentence of 78 months, more than Richard Scrushy, his co-defendant. And a jumbo fine. Yet, besides for the 113 Attorneys General, your dad still has a lot of friends and allies. Where do we go from here?
We are seeking a presidential pardon. I have started a petition to the President on Change.org
/PARDONdon. It allows us to pressure President Obama for a pardon, nationally and internationally. My hope and prayer is that those close to us will champion the cause, but that others will want to help too. We only have four months to move mountains!
Cheaha State Park in 1996
So, we really need to get moving! What's the four month deadline, Dana?
The four month deadline refers to the time after elections and before a second term for President Obama or before a new president is inaugurated. This is the period of time a president is most likely to commute or pardon a sentence. Our only hope is putting enormous pressure on the President to see the political nature that brought the indictment and the vagueness of law that got a conviction. You can sign the petition here.
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Ah, got it. Would you mind talking about how this case has affected you and your brother? You were regular kids who happened to have a father in public office and wham! - suddenly your lives were turned upside down.
Yes, it was really a blow. We love our dad and had a hard time wrapping our heads around the indictment. It wasn't until he was convicted that we learned the facts of the case and realized the great injustice that had been done. I regret not making my dad explain it all to me earlier. I just knew he maintained his innocence. I didn't know it was a witch-hunt. Joseph and I went through depression when dad was sentenced the first time and dragged away to prison. We lost our faith in government, particularly the Justice Department. We worried about our mom, and we felt ashamed to really show our faces in Alabama. It helped that I lived overseas and out of state for most of it.
I hope I don't sound ghoulish, but how have you dealt with the depression that comes from realizing that the System doesn't work, or certainly didn't work, in this case?
Activism! When something really horrible happens to you, you have two choices: hide or fight. I have chosen the latter and won't give up until my dad is free and people are educated. Please help me by sharing the petition on CHANGE.org/PARDONdon
(Facebook, Twitter, and email).
With your help, we might just move mountains.
Thank you Joan!
You're quite welcome, Dana. Thank you for talking with me again. Good luck with your petition!
All photos by Lori Allen Siegelman
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...)