The Don Siegelman prosecution in Alabama is the best known case of an individual becoming a political prisoner for the crime of governing while a Democrat.
The Paul Minor prosecution in Mississippi is not as well known, but it might be every bit as egregious as the Siegelman prosecution. And unlike Siegelman, its three defendants--attorney Paul Minor and former state judges Wes Teel and John Whitfield--remain in federal prison on convictions that are not remotely based in law.
What was Paul Minor's real crime? Being a major financial backer of Democratic candidates in a blood-red Deep South state. Minor was a major backer of John Edwards' presidential bid in 2004, and evidence suggests that made him a target of the Bush Justice Department. It has been reported that Bush supporters were convinced that Edwards, not John Kerry, would be Dubya's opponent in '04.
Teel and Whitfield evidently were "collateral damage" in the Bushies effort to cut off Paul Minor, a major source of Democratic support.
For those of you who are not familiar with the Minor case, remember these two names--Dunn Lampton and Henry Wingate. Lampton is the U.S. attorney who prosecuted the Minor case, and he currently is under investigation on several fronts. And Wingate is the judge, a Reagan appointee, who "presided" over the Minor case. Wingate's rulings in the Minor case were so blatantly corrupt that he should be the subject of impeachment hearings at some point.
I live in Birmingham, Alabama, and work in higher education. I became interested in justice-related issues after experiencing gross judicial corruption in Alabama state courts. This corruption has a strong political component. The corrupt judges are (more...