New Whistleblower Emerges in Siegelman Case
Tamarah T. Grimes, a legal aide who worked in the office that prosecuted Siegelman, provided the documents, according to a major investigative story by Adam Zagorin of Time magazine.
Grimes worked for Leura Canary, U.S. attorney for the middle district of Alabama in Montgomery, and provided the documents to Department of Justice watchdogs in 2007. She now is involved in an employment dispute that could result in her termination.
Grimes' documents show that Leura Canary was giving legal advice to prosecutors in her office, long after she was supposed to be off the case:
In one of Canary's e-mails, dated September 19, 2005, she forwards senior prosecutors on the Siegelman case a three-page political commentary by Siegelman. Canary highlighted a single passage which, she told her subordinates, "Ya'll need to read, because he refers to a 'survey' which allegedly shows that 67% of Alabamans believe the investigation of him to be politically motivated." Canary then suggests: "Perhaps [this is]grounds not to let [Siegelman] discuss court activities in the media!"
Prosecutors in the case seem to have followed Canary's advice. A few months later they petitioned the court to prevent Siegelman from arguing that politics had any bearing on the case against him. After trial, they persuaded the judge to use Siegelman's public statements about political bias - like the one Canary had flagged in her e-mail - as grounds for increasing his prison sentence. The judge's action is now one target of next month's appeal.
That is not the only damaging information Grimes provided about Canary:
Beyond providing the e-mails, Grimes has given a written statement to the Department of Justice noting that U.S. Attorney Canary had "kept up with every detail of the [Siegelman] case".
Grimes also provided e-mails that show previously undisclosed contacts between prosecutors and the Siegelman jury.
And that was not the only hanky panky between jurors and the prosecution:
Further undisclosed evidence of prosecution team members speaking with jurors following the verdict emerges in Grimes' written statement to the DoJ. In it, she says a member of the team prosecuting Siegelman had spoken with a juror suspected of improper conduct - apparently at the time the judge was due to question the juror about that conduct. Grimes quotes the lead prosecutor in the case as saying someone had "talked to her. She is just scared and afraid she is going to get in trouble."
Glynn Wilson, of Locust Fork World News & Journal, provides important perspective on this breaking story. Wilson includes insights from Scott Horton, Columbia University law professor and legal-affairs contributor for Harper's magazine, on a number of topics, including:
* A possible approach from an Obama Justice Department regarding the Siegelman case and other matters related to corruption in the Bush administration.
* Possible connections between President George W. Bush and the Siegelman case.