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The Story Behind My Dad's Incarceration

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Message Dana Siegelman
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Nine years ago, the Bush Administration went after my father when he was Alabama's governor. He was the first governor to endorse Al Gore for president and speak out against Bush. GOP operatives in Alabama and Washington D.C. struck up a plan to bring my dad down in the media, essentially crippling his chances for reelection and setting the stage for a prosecution that would strip him of his lifelong earnings, his law license, his ability to run for public office, and most importantly, his freedom.

Sworn testimony before Congress states that all this came at the direction of Karl Rove, President Bush's Chief of Staff. After my dad's surprise conviction, the judge, Mark Everett Fuller, was enriched with a Defense contract, benefiting more than $200 million from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That's right, the man who put my dad behind bars for raising money for an education lottery, (money which would have given underprivileged children a free college education), was personally rewarded in millions of dollars by the Bush Administration.

The prosecution claimed the man who gave my father the money for the lottery campaign wanted a seat on a state hospital board. They claimed that appointing this man to the hospital board was bribery. The fact remains the contributor was the CEO of HealthSouth, Richard Scrushy, and HealthSouth already had a seat on the board. In fact, Scrushy had held a seat on the board for twelve years under three previous governors -- to whom he contributed!

Despite the common practice in the United States of appointing supporters to a wide variety of governmental positions, the courts concluded that this particular appointment was a bribe, even though the government never alleged my dad put a single penny in his pocket. The court encouraged the jury to infer an implicit "explicit" quid pro quo.

After spending nine months in prison, my dad was released, pending appeal, due to substantial questions of law and fact. The appeal conveniently went to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, the most conservative court in the country. Then it went to the Supreme Court, where justices denied its importance and sent it back to Judge Fuller without comment. On September 11, 2012, my father will report to a federal prison to be taken into custody for more than five years for something that was never a crime.

The case has everything to do with returning justice to our country and renewing our faith in government. My dad had a distinguished career in public service. He wasn't just a flash in the pan Democrat, but a man who paid his political dues and earned the trust, respect, and votes of millions of constituents. He entered politics to make this world better.

Please join me in asking our President for a pardon.
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Dana Siegelman is the daughter of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman.
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