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Imprisoned Former Alabama Gov. Siegelman Backs Jailed Blogger, Denounces Corruption

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Roger Shuler in Shelby County Jail by Shelby County, Alabama

Editor's Note: Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman (1999-2003), now imprisoned in Louisiana, sent me the guest column below that opposes the jailing of Alabama reporter/blogger Roger Shuler on contempt of court charges arising out of a defamation suit in Shelby County.

Since 2007, Shuler has documented corruption in Alabama's court system, including columns on OpEdNews cross-posted to his Legal Schnauzer blog.

He was arrested at his home Oct. 23. He is shown above in his mug shot with his face puffy after what he described as a beating and MACE attack by deputy sheriffs. Without a lawyer, he remains jailed without bond for failing to spike columns alleging that Robert Riley, the son of two-term GOP ex-governor Bob Riley, had an affair with a lobbyist. The younger Riley and the lobbyist denied the claims in libel suits Shuler recently reported. The judge sealed the record.

Beginning in 1999, Republicans sought to imprison Siegelman, the state's leading Democrat. Shuler has documented gross irregularities.

By Don Siegelman

Don Siegelman by Siegelman Family

Roger Shuler of Legal Schnauzer and Glynn Wilson of the Locust Fork News-Journal have been the two Alabama journalists who have stood up to Alabama's internal political corruption.

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Roger Shuler has written time and time again exposing Rob Riley, the former governor's son's insidious and sinister connections to money making schemes. Rob Riley, as Shuler told the story, was one of the powers behind the scenes working with Karl Rove and my prosecutor's husband.

It was Rob Riley who confidentially confessed to a Republican insider, Dana Jill Simpson, to their manipulation of the Department of Justice to secure an indictment against me so his father could win his race against me for governor. "It was Rob Riley," according to Ms. Simpson, "who arranged for Siegelman and Scrushy to get a 'hanging judge.'"

It was Shuler who explained why it was so important to Rob Riley to damage my re-election chances, not only for his father to win but also so that Rob Riley could make millions off a conviction of my co-defendant, Richard Scrushy.

Shuler exposed the fact that Rob Riley had weaseled his way into a group of lawyers who were suing Richard Scrushy and his company, HealthSouth. If Scrushy could be convicted criminally it would make the civil case against Scrushy and HealthSouth much more vulnerable and make the civil case more profitable.

It was important to his father's election that I be damaged by the prosecution and it was imperative that we be convicted so the Rileys could profit from Rob's suit against Scrushy and HealthSouth.

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Now that Rob Riley has set his sights on running Congress, Shuler would not let up or shut up. Even though he and his wife were themselves personally in jeopardy, Roger was not be intimidated by Rob Riley's threats of suing Roger. Riley upped the ante by having Roger Shuler arrested and jailed.
I call on my friends to send the Roger and Carol Shuler money for their legal defense and support. Roger is a courageous journalist with deep-seated beliefs in freedom of the press and freedom of speech. It is our time to show that we too have the same commitment to the First Amendment and human rights.

People with means like George Soros and Michael Moore, please dig deep to help this embattled family.

The rest of us, all of us, please do whatever you can to provide financial support. Also give spiritual support by writing letters to the editor of the Shelby County News.

Let them hear from you until Roger is freed and these charges are dropped.

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Andrew Kreig is an investigative reporter, attorney, author, business strategist, radio host, and longtime non-profit executive based in Washington, DC. His most recent book is "Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and Their Masters," the (more...)

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