Don Siegelman, a popular Democratic governor of Alabama, a Republican state, was framed in a crooked trial, convicted on June 29, 2006, and sent to Federal prison by the corrupt and immoral Bush administration.
The frame-up of Siegelman and businessman Richard Scrushy is so crystal clear and blatant that 52 former state attorney generals from across America, both Republicans and Democrats, have urged the US Congress to investigate the Bush administration's use of the US Department of Justice to rid themselves of a Democratic governor who "they could not beat fair and square," according to Grant Woods, former Republican Attorney General of Arizona and co-chair of the McCain for President leadership committee. Woods says that he has never seen a case with so "many red flags pointing to injustice."
The abuse of American justice by the Bush administration in order to ruin Siegelman is so crystal clear that even the corporate media organization CBS allowed "60 Minutes" to broadcast on February 24, 2008, a damning indictment of the railroading of Siegelman. Extremely coincidental "technical difficulties" caused WHNT, the CBS station covering the populous northern third of Alabama, to go black during the broadcast. The station initially offered a lame excuse of network difficulties that CBS in New York denied. The Republican-owned print media in Alabama seemed to have the inside track on every aspect of the prosecution's case against Siegelman. You just have to look at their editorials and articles following the 60 Minutes broadcast to get a taste of what counts for "objective journalism" in their mind.
The injustice done by the US Department of Justice (sic) to Siegelman is so crystal clear that a participant in Karl Rove's plan to destroy Siegelman can't live with her conscience. Jill Simpson, a Republican lawyer who did opposition research for Rove, testified under oath to the House Judiciary Committee and went public on "60 Minutes." Simpson said she was told by Bill Canary, the most important GOP campaign advisor in Alabama, that "my girls can take care of Siegelman."
Canary's "girls" are two US Attorneys in Alabama, both appointed by President Bush. One is Bill Canary's wife, Leura Canary. The other is Alice Martin. According to Harper's Scott Horton, a law professor at Columbia University, Martin is known for abusive prosecutions.
What was the "crime" for which Siegelman and Scrushy were convicted? Scrushy made a contribution to the Alabama Education Foundation, a not-for-profit organization set up to push for a lottery to benefit secondary education in Alabama, to retire debt associated with the Alabama education lottery proposal. Scrushy was a member of Alabama's Certificate of Need board, a nonpaid group that oversaw hospital expansion. Scrushy had been a member of the board through the terms of the prior three governors, and Siegelman asked him to serve another term.
Federal prosecutors claimed that Scrushy's contribution was a bribe to Siegelman in exchange for being appointed to the Certificate of Need board. In the words of federal prosecutor Stephen Feaga, the contribution was "given in exchange for a promise for an official act."
Feaga's statement is absolute nonsense. It is well known that Scrushy had served on the board for years, felt he had done his duty, and wanted off the board. It was Siegelman who convinced Scrushy to remain on the board. Moreover, Scrushy gave no money to Siegelman. The money went to a foundation.
As a large number of attorneys have pointed out, every US president appoints his ambassadors and cabinet members from people who have donated to his campaign. Under the reasoning applied in the Siegelman case, a large number of living former presidents, cabinet members and ambassadors should be in federal prison--not to mention the present incumbents.
How in the world did a jury convict two men of a non-crime?
The answer is that the US Attorney used Governor Siegelman's indicted young assistant, Nick Bailey, to create the impression among some of the jurors that "something must have happened." Unbeknownst to Siegelman, Bailey was extorting money or accepting bribes from Alabama businessmen in exchange for state business. Bailey was caught. Presented with threats of a long sentence, Bailey agreed to testify falsely that Siegelman came out of a meeting with Scrushy and showed Bailey a $250,000 check he had accepted in exchange for appointing Scrushy to the Certificate of Need board. Prosecutors knew that Bailey's testimony was false, not only because, according to Bailey himself, prosecutors had Bailey rewrite his testimony many times and rehearsed him until he had it down pat, but also because they had the check. The records show that the check, written to a charitable organization, was cut days after the meeting from which Siegelman allegedly emerged with check in hand.
It is a crime for prosecutors to withhold exculpatory evidence. The Washington Post reported on February 26 that Siegelman's attorneys have called for a special prosecutor after CBS quoted prosecution witness Bailey "as saying prosecutors met with him about 70 times. He said they had him regularly write out his testimony because they were frustrated with his recollection of events. The written notes, if they existed, could have damaged the credibility of Bailey's story, but no such notes were turned over to the defense, as would have been required by law."
In video documentaries available online, Bailey's friend, Amy Methvin, says that Bailey told her that he was going to parrot the prosecutors' line, "pay for play," "quid pro quo." Methvin says Bailey went into a speech about money exchanged for favors. "You sound like a robot," Methvin told him. "You would have it memorized, too, if you had heard the answers as many times as I have heard the answers," Bailey replied.
The prosecutors also had help from some jurors. On a WOTM Special Report hosted by former US Attorney Raymond Johnson, Alabama lawyer Julian McPhillips produced emails from two jurors about influencing other jurors in order to achieve a conviction. Jurors are not supposed to discuss a case outside the court or to consider information other than what is presented in court and allowed by the judge. The outside communication among the jurors is sufficient to declare a mistrial.
However, Federal District Judge, Mark Fuller, a George W. Bush appointee, ignored the tainted jury. Fuller's handling of the case suspiciously favored the prosecution. He bore a strong grudge against Siegelman. Fuller had been an Alabama district attorney before Bush made him a federal judge. Fuller's successor as district attorney was appointed by Siegelman and produced evidence that suggested that Fuller had connived with his former senior assistant in a "pension spiking" scheme, which some viewed as a fraud or attempted fraud against the state retirement system.
Despite his known animosity toward Siegelman, Fuller refused to recuse himself from Siegelman's trial. According to the WOTM Special Report, Fuller owns a company that was receiving federal money during Siegelman's trial. Fuller did not disclose this conflict of interest. The charges raised by 60 Minutes cast the trial as Karl Rove's effort to rid the Republicans of the candidate they could not beat. The strange conduct of the presiding Republican judge, who had recently become a rich man as the company he owned was awarded a mass of discretionary federal contracts, only raises more very troubling questions.