Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer
The U.S. Senate should thoroughly grill and then reject the Obama administration's nominee for a controversial U.S. attorney position, according to a report out this morning from the Justice Integrity Project (JIP).
Andrew Kreig, executive director of JIP, writes that George Beck should be rejected as U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Alabama because of conflicts of interests related to the Don Siegelman case--and any possible spinoff public-corruption investigations. This morning's piece is the first of a three-part series Kreig has written about the Beck nomination. The remaining parts are due for release this afternoon and tomorrow at justice-integrity.org.
Beck is "tainted," Kreig writes, and then provides plenty of evidence to back up that assertion. If confirmed, Beck would replace George W. Bush appointee Leura Canary, who oversaw the Siegelman prosecution and inexplicably has been allowed to serve for more than two years of the Obama administration. But Kreig states that Beck should not be confirmed--and the Senate Judiciary Committee should call witnesses to bring out relevant facts about the Siegelman case, in which Beck played a prominent role.
Despite an impressive career overall, Beck is a horrible choice because he was a compliant defense attorney in the notorious prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, the state's leading Democrat. Beck's role in that travesty further destroys public confidence in that long-troubled DOJ office. At the minimum if confirmed, Beck must recuse himself and all of the most prominent staff at DOJ's Montgomery offices from the Siegelman case and every spin-off public corruption probe.
In other words, a Beck appointment could be a legal and logistical nightmare, in an office that desperately needs to be cleansed. Writes Kreig:
Our Justice Integrity Project, among many others, has documented how the Bush Justice Department framed Siegelman via the current Bush-appointed U.S. Attorney Leura Canary and her subordinates. The prosecutors did this in part by pressuring Beck's client Nick Bailey, whose tormented and coerced testimony were enabled by a biased Republican trial judge, Mark E. Fuller. Fuller hated Siegelman, according to our research. We documented this in a 2009 investigatory story that the Huffington Post front-paged, entitled, "Siegelman Deserves New Trial Because of Judge's Grudge, Evidence Shows." Fuller himself had no response when we asked him for comment, which helps underscore why the Justice Department and Senate need to have inquiries above suspicion.
Key questions involve Fuller's curious ties to the military-industrial complex, issues that Beck might not be equipped to handle:
Even if Fuller continues to refuse to recuse himself because of his animosity to the defendant, the judge was compromised also by his secret contracts on the side bringing in $300 million from 2006 to 2009 for Doss Aviation, Inc., the judge's privately held company. Doss primarily serves the Air Force. This Air Force tie-in leads to a host of necessary Senate confirmation questions for Beck, the Justice Department and others regarding Air Force involvement in the Siegelman prosecution and in the recent $35 billion Air Force acquisition of a next-generation of mid-air tankers. Powerful interests wanted these tankers to be built by a European-led consortium at a reassembly plant in Alabama instead of by a U.S. prime contractor.
Beck declined to be interviewed for Kreig's article. But Beck already has indicated he is not willing to examine Fuller's myriad conflicts in the Siegelman matter. Reports Kreig: